Highlight Hits: Packers top 5 running plays

Eddie Lacy

Piggybacking a little off the idea presented at packers.com, this is our first installment of the plays that defined the Packers season. These are not necessarily the biggest plays in terms of yardage or anything of that nature, just what they meant to the team at the specific time. First we will begin with the Packers top running plays for the 2013 season.

5.) John Kuhn 4th and 1 vs Chicago Bears, Dec. 29, 2013: The Packers were trailing late in the game against their arch rivals. They needed a first down to keep the drive alive, and perhaps the season as well. After some deliberation with coach Mike McCarthy on whether or not they would go for it, ultimately they decided to. Instead of giving the ball to Eddie Lacy, who was slowed most of the day by an ankle injury, they ran a fullback dive with John Kuhn. Much like he did throughout his time with the Green Bay Packers, Kuhn was not flashy, but simply got the job done. He fought for a hard two yards that kept the drive alive, in the first of three fourth down conversions the Packers would get on that fateful drive. Following the Kuhn run for a first down, the Packers eventually would score a touchdown on a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb from Aaron Rodgers, and the Packers would be crowned NFC North champions for the third year in a row.

 

4.) Johnathan Franklin 51 yard run vs Cincinnati Bengals. Sept 22, 2013: When the Packers drafted Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin, a lot of fans, myself included were excited at the potential thunder and lightning attack the running game could feature. Franklin possesses home-run hitting ability out of the backfield, and was an intriguing prospect coming into camp. Unfortunately he never really got on track and was buried on the depth chart behind Lacy and James Starks. Franklin did get his shot early in the season, however, when Lacy was sitting out with a concussion, and Starks suffered an injury at the end of the first half against the Bengals. Franklin would make his presence known, and flash some of the talent Ted Thompson saw when he traded up for him in the fourth round of April’s NFL Draft. Franklin took a pitch from Aaron Rodgers and made some nice moves in the open field, ultimately leading to a Packers touchdown. It was a flash of the potential brilliance Franklin could bring to the backfield beyond 2013, in what was an otherwise lost rookie season for the talented runner out of UCLA.

 

3.) Eddie Lacy 56 yard run vs Chicago Bears. Nov. 4, 2013: It was a game most Packers fans would like to forget. It was the night they lost their leader, Aaron Rodgers. It was not all at a loss. The game remained competitive because of the legs of the Packers newfound workhorse Eddie Lacy. Lacy was a monster against the Bears that night at Lambeau Field rushing for more than 150 yards, and a touchdown. He showed some explosion during this run, breaking into the open field before being caught from behind at the one yardline. He would punch it in the next play to knot the game at 17. The Packers ultimately fell short, but it was the first of many highlight plays for Lacy during the regular season.

 

2.) Eddie Lacy 60 yard run vs Dallas Cowboys. Dec. 15, 2013: The Packers were trailing 26-3 at halftime, and all looked lost. They could not stop the Dallas Cowboys offense, and could not move the ball on their own either. They needed a spark. They got it from the man they usually looked to while Rodgers was out. Lacy took a handoff running left, and picked up some nice blocking along the way while he exploded into the secondary. He raced down the sideline for 60 yards until he was run out of bounds. I guess if there’s something he needs to work on is finishing off long runs, turning them into touchdowns. Fortunately for the Packers Matt Flynn found Jordy Nelson in the end zone, as he made an impressive catch, making the game 26-10. The Packers would go on to win this game, and completely establish themselves in the hearts of Packers fans everywhere as the Cardiac Pack.

 

1.)  Eddie Lacy 2 yard run vs San Francisco 49ers. Sept. 8, 2013: On the surface this looks like just a short touchdown run that became the norm for the Packers throughout the season. It was just a two yard run, so it appears to be nothing special. This however was different from a typical two yard run. It signified a shift in identity. The Packers for years have been referred to as a soft team that cannot run the ball. This was even more so the case after the drumming the 49ers gave them just eight months prior to this contest. The Packers were trailing 24-21 in the fourth quarter when they took the ball into the red zone. Usually, during McCarthy’s tenure, this forced him to be creative and probably draw up a pass play because the Packers could not impose their will on the defense. This time they could. Lacy took the handoff, and went airborn into the endzone for a touchdown that gave the Packers a 28-24 lead. It was a forgettable day for Lacy who only rushed for 41 yards on 14 carries and lost a costly fumble leading to a 49ers touchdown. On this play though, he showed the Packers what they would have down the road, and rammed it into the teeth of the 49ers defense. This made the Packers a physical offense, something they would need to be throughout the season. While it was only two yards, it was the two yards that changed the Packers from an air-raid offense, to a balanced one, spearheaded by the legs of Eddie Lacy.

 

As always, these plays are open for debate so please discuss, what do you think were some plays that should have cracked the top five instead of the ones listed?

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Jacob Westendorf is a writer at PackersTalk.com. You can follow Jacob on twitter at

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