We knew his time would come.
AJ Dillon had his breakout performance on Sunday night, going 124 yards on 21 carries (good for a robust 5.9 YPC) for two scores for Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers. Dillon started the game as the #2 running back on the depth chart with Jamaal Williams sidelined, but took over lead duties after an injury to Aaron Jones.
He made sure to make the most of the opportunity. Dillon was a human highlight reel, falling for extra yards on just about every rush, showing real quickness to get to the holes, and absolutely bulldozing his way through the line when necessary.
Yeah, we already knew all about that up here in Chestnut Hill. The man is a snow plow with turbo:
Q: After watching his performance on the Frozen Tundra last night, AJ Dillon’s new nickname should be the Snowplow. How fun was that to see? Very happy for him! We should expect his Lambeau Leaps to improve with more practice (and less snow, perhaps).
A: I couldn’t care less whether he can clear the top of the wall or not. If he can run with that kind of authority between the tackles the rest of the way, defenses have another weapon to worry about. Those big legs are fresh.
The Packer faithful were mighty impressed.
The first defender smacked into AJ Dillon at the 5-yard line. Matt Dickerson, the Tennessee Titans defensive end, paid for the mistake. Dickerson ricocheted a few yards backward. He was weightless, in flight. Like a matador who had just collided with the bull.
As Dillon continued his plunge toward the goal line late in the Packers’ 40-14 win Sunday night, the Titans’ defense converged. Safety Kevin Byard wrapped both arms around Dillon’s waist at the 2-yard line, but slid down his legs. Defensive back Amani Hooker sandwiched Dillon at the 1. Dickerson stayed underneath Dillon, a 300-pound speed bump.
This was Giannis Antetokounmpo posterizing two, three defenders at the rim.
His first career touchdown might have been even better. With the Packers looking at a 4th and 1 from the 30, Dillon shook right, got skinny through a collapsing hole, and sent Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro flying on a missed tackle on his way to his first Lambeau Leap. Just beautiful.
It’s not mercilessly throwing a Louisville defender to the ground, but it ain’t bad either.
Jamaal Williams could miss some more time, and given what AJ Dillon showed off the bench, the Packers probably won’t be too likely to rush him back. With what Dillon can give Green Bay with his fresh legs here late in the season, it’s a pretty good bet that the rookie might have played himself into a bigger role going into the playoffs.