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GRIFFITH GETS REWARD FOR ALL HIS DIRTY WORK

For Howard Griffith, a man the Denver Broncos call the perfect NFL fullback, it was a perfect stat line.

Four carries, nine yards, two touchdowns for himself. Twenty-five carries, 102 yards for his halfback, Terrell Davis. No sacks and a 300-yard passing day for his quarterback, John Elway.

"The most important is 100 yards for Terrell, then no sacks for John," said Griffith, an unsung hero of the Denver offense who's on his way to becoming a sung one.

"Then me."

Griffith's mindset has made him one of Denver's most valuable players. A touchdown machine in college, once scoring eight in a single game for Illinois, Griffith contents himself with opening holes for Davis.

But Sunday night, Denver occasionally used Davis as a decoy and let Griffith have some of the glory, allowing him to plow into the end zone twice on a pair of 1-yard runs.

"We call them jab plays, because we take a step one way and come back the other," Griffith said. "Anytime you have a back like Terrell, the defense is going to follow him, so we knew it would be open for me. You flow one way, then come back the other way, it's gonna surprise some people. When you get your opportunities, you gotta take full advantage."

Griffith hasn't had many opportunities to score for two reasons. For one thing, it's not in his job description. "My responsibility is to block for Terrell, and that's not going to change just because I scored a couple of touchdowns in the Super Bowl," he said.

The other reason: "We have such an explosive offense, and make so many big plays that turn into touchdowns, we don't really have the ball on the 1 very often," he said.

While he's still not going to be recognized on the streets of Miami, or perhaps even Denver, Griffith has had a knack for making timely plays in big games.

Last year, he twice set up TDs with big catches in playoff games during the Broncos' first title run.

He also caught an 11-yard TD pass from Elway that helped Denver down the Jets in the AFC championship game this season.

"All I care about is being able to say at the end of the game that I've gone out and done everything I can do," he said.

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