Cleveland Browns: Top 5 rushing performances since 1999
3. William Green, December 29th, 2002
Any Browns fan who was around for the 2002 season knows the call by Jim Donovan:
"“Second down, they give it to Green. Green, stutter-step, he’s through! First down! 40, 45, 50! 45, 40! Run, William, Run! 20, 15, 10, 5, touchdown! 64 yards!” — Donovan"
The “Run, William, Run” game, as it’s come to be known, took place in Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 29th, 2002. The Browns needed to beat the Falcons and get a little bit of help from other teams around the league, in order to make the playoffs. Up just one point with under four minutes left on the clock, the Dawg Pound held its breath for an insurance score, as the Browns sat near midfield.
Then, Cleveland Browns Stadium erupted.
William Green, the rookie running back out of Boston College, rushed for a 64-yard touchdown to seal the deal over the Atlanta Falcons, pushing the Browns to 9-7 on the year. This put them a game above the 8-8 Buffalo Bills in the AFC, and through a series of tiebreakers with the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Denver Broncos, the Browns made their first playoff appearance since their 1999 return.
Green rushed for 178 yards on the day, with his 64-yarder the longest run of the day for Cleveland. But, what makes this Week 17 performance so special is that the Browns haven’t been back to the playoffs since. They had a small chance this season, but were officially eliminated after Week 16 games began rolling in.
So, Green’s run still stands as perhaps the most important play in Browns history. For years, Green’s run remained the longest rookie rush in the history of Cleveland football. It wouldn’t be broken until week nine of the 2018 season, against the very same team.