The game the Green Bay Packers played yesterday in Minnesota was the exact kind of game they would lose before they drafted Eddie Lacy.
Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings secondary had a great plan and execution to limit Green Bay’s big plays down the field. There were no long play action post plays to Jordy Nelson, and there were no plays when Aaron Rodgers rolls out of the pocket and hits Randall Cobb improvising his route. In fact, Rodgers did a great job of escaping the pocket several times, but rarely hit any big plays.
It was just a good day for Rodgers and not a great one. Rodgers used to have to be great every game for the Packers to win with no running game or defense. The defense was pedestrian yesterday, but Lacy was an absolute stud.
Lacy rushed 25 times for 125 yards and a touchdown. Also, he scored a 10-yard receiving touchdown on a nicely designed shovel pass. Lacy was just a beast yet again with breaking tackles, as 70 of those 125 rushing yards were after contact.
Lacy finally got a game when he got the touches he deserved and credit to him for never complaining once for not getting enough carries. Coming from the Alabama program his values are where they should be. Not to mention he did all of this battling illness.
Lacy’s biggest accomplishment was running out the final three minutes on the clock to secure the Packers’ victory. It was especially important because the Packers defense was not looking good, and Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has a big leg.
Everybody knew the Packers were going to try to pound Lacy and run out the clock. It was the kind of situation they struggled to be able to run the ball well before Lacy got to Green Bay.
The first two Lacy runs netted the Packers eight yards to setup a third-and-2 play. Before Lacy got here this would often be a pass call, but with the way he was running there was no doubt he should get the ball. The Packers blocked the play beautifully, and Lacy ran up the middle easily for a four-yard gain.
Lacy ran for five and 10 yards the next two plays to finish off the 24-21 victory. This is what we all imagined at the beginning of the season. If the defense was taking away the deep ball with two deep safeties that Lacy would be able to make them pay. That definitely came to fruition yesterday.
These kinds of performances have been nothing new for Lacy recently. He has nine touchdowns over his last eight games, over 100 total yards in four straight games and has averaged 5.06 yards per carry since September. He has been literally perfect in pass blocking this season and continues to make big plays catching the ball. As the weather gets colder, fewer defenders will be very interested in taking hits from him.
Minnesota has an underrated defense. They rank 14th in the NFL in points allowed per game (22) and eighth in passing yards per game (225.2). They have talent everywhere with Brian Robison and Everson Griffin rushing the passer, Anthony Barr having a rookie of the year type season to go along with Chad Greenway at the linebacker position and talented secondary players in Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes. Also, they have a great defensive schemer in Zimmer.
With that being said — it was no surprise that the game was this competitive with it being a sandwich game between the Eagles and Patriots– and because it was Minnesota’s Super Bowl. There should be absolutely no apologies for winning a division game on the road.
Lacy has given the Packers a dimension they never used to have, and without him they do not come away victorious in Minnesota.——————