Before their victory against the Minnesota Vikings, the Green Bay Packers had been plagued by poor offensive performances in three straight losses to the Broncos, Panthers, and Lions.
While still not operating as efficiently as it has in the past, the Packers’ offense took a step in the right direction in its 30-13 victory over the Vikings. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed less than 50 percent of his passes, but made a number of clutch, difficult throws to help guide Green Bay to its first win in over a month.
While Rodgers’ performance was a big reason for the offense’s reemergence, the resurgence of Eddie Lacy gave Green Bay an added dimension that has been missing for most of the year. For the Packers’ offensive attack to get back on track, it is crucial that Green Bay get Lacy more involved in the team’s game plan.
Lacy’s struggles thus far in the season have been attributed to a number of factors. Some have state out that he is bigger than he was in each of his first two seasons in the league. Others point out that separate ankle and groin injuries have hampered his play through the first ten games of 2015. Either way, Lacy showed Sunday what he is still capable of when he is healthy and given the opportunity to perform.
The Packers running back rushed for 100 yards on 22 carries, his first 100-yard game of the year. He returned to his bruising style of running, and showed he may have overcome the ankle injury with a textbook Lacy spin move that resulted in a season-high 27-yard run.
Pro Football Focus credited Lacy with forcing four missed tackles against the Vikings, and he gained 76 of his 100 yards after contact. It is no coincidence that Lacy’s three best games this season have come when he is given more carries.
There have been just three games this season in which Lacy got over 15 carries. In those games, he had rushing totals of 85, 90, and 100 yards. When he is given the opportunity to wear defenses down over the course of an entire game, he makes the most of it.
Mike McCarthy has said that Green Bay cannot rely on Rodgers to throw the ball 61 times a game like he did against Detroit, and it is clear that the Packers’ offense operates better when it has a healthy balance of runs and passes. Despite James Starks’ importance to the running game, Lacy is still the better back in the Green Bay backfield.
Starks and Lacy provide an effective one-two punch for the Packers, and they are both essential to a dominant Green Bay ground game. But like the team showed against Minnesota, Lacy’s production can have a major effect on any given game’s outcome.
On Thursday against the Chicago Bears’ 25th-ranked rush defense, Lacy will have the opportunity to show that he has indeed turned a corner and can carry the Packers’ rushing attack for the remainder of the season.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .