Green & Gold


Packers rushing to victory

The Green Bay Packers have a running game.

Not only that, it’s the kind of running game that is helping the Packers win games.

Rookie running back Eddie Lacy’s performance Sunday — 23 carries for 99 yards — is exactly the reason the Packers committed to improving the running game and moving away from a pass-happy, one-dimensional offense.

Following a 15-1 season in 2011, but a one-and-done playoff run, the Packers’ coaching staff identified the running game as the only way to improve on offense. That year the Packers’ offense set records for yards and points, but was famously one-dimensional. It was good enough to win games, but not championships.

Lacy, who has been part of a backfield that is averaging 141 yards rushing per game and is ranked No. 5 in the NFL in rushing, ran the ball hard Sunday. While few of his plays were flashy, and he didn’t reach the end zone, Lacy’s running threat changed the flow of that game.


Keys to the Game: Packers at Ravens

Green Bay Packers

Don’t Miss Matthews

The Green Bay Packers will have to adjust quickly to life without Clay Matthews, who will miss multiple weeks with a broken thumb. Someone on the defense will need to step up and provide the pass rush. The absence could be an opportunity, as the Packers’ outside linebackers feel the pressure to perform with the spotlight trained fully on their performances. When Matthews does return to the lineup, the Packers could find themselves with more dependable players opposite their star pass rusher.

Get Rodgers Right

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has played fine in the last two games, but the performances have not been up to the level everyone has come to expect from Rodgers. With big question marks on the defensive side of the ball and facing a tough run defense, Rodgers needs to bring his A game Sunday. A stellar performance by Rodgers can mask a lot of deficiencies elsewhere.


Packers beat Lions 22-9

Wolf River Media Photo by Gerrard Diaz Packers kicker Mason Crosby hits one of his five field goals against the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

The Green Bay Packers got 16 points from Mason Crosby in a 22-9 win over the Detroit Lions in a key NFC North Division match-up Sunday at Lambeau Field.

With two of the leagues’ most prolific offenses on the field, it was Crosby, the kicker who struggled a season ago but has been perfect this season, went five for five on field goals and helped the Packers maintain a lead throughout the game.

“I’m real proud of Mason,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “It’s great to see him kicking the way we know he’s capable of kicking.”

Crosby never had a five-field goal game before Sunday, an accomplishment that tied him with Chris Jacke and Ryan Longwell for the franchise record for most field goals in a game.

“I’m really pumped about that,” Crosby said. “It’s really cool, but at the same time, it’s awesome that it came with a win. Sometimes you get a lot of field goals and it doesn’t come with a win.”


Offensive line rounds into shape

Photo by Cory Dellenbach The Packers offensive line opens a hole for running back James Starks during Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field. Sunday's performance hinted at how good the offensive line could be this season.

James Starks rightly got his due for finally breaking the 100-yard rushing bugaboo for the Packers.

Starks’ hard running inspired his teammates, especially the offensive line, who in turn responded with some superb blocking Sunday.

“It was just exciting for the entire offense as a whole to watch a guy go out there and run like that,” center Evan Dietrich-Smith said. “I think he set a tone with that hit on the sideline against (Brandon) Meriweather. He set the standard there. We have to keep hitting it. We have to keep it going throughout the year.”

The Packers quest for a better running game began in the offseason, with the drafting of Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin.


Packers @ Bengals: Keys to the Game

Photo by Cory Dellenbach With Eddie Lacy recovering from a concussion, James Starks (44) will start at running back Sunday in Cincinnati.

Green Bay Packers

Sustain drives

The Packers have shown their ability to be a quick-strike offense so far this season. The offense has put together several drives of over 60 yards in under two minutes. The no-huddle and big plays work for the Packers. But the Packers’ offense has also shown it can misfire with three-and-outs disrupting the otherwise high-flying show. The Packers need to sustain more drives and put together some 80-yard drives that eat the clock as well as the defense’s confidence.

Fix secondary


Packers demolish records, Redskins

As record after record fell Sunday in the rain at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers dominated the Washington Redskins 38-20 in a Week 2 match-up between teams looking to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start.

The day started with a record crowd of 78,020 packing into Lambeau Field, the most fans to ever see a game at the historic stadium, boosted by the 7,000-seat addition in the south end zone.

From there Aaron Rodgers took over the record setting, tying his single-game record for completions with 34, breaking his single-game career passing record and tying the single-game franchise record with 480 yards passing. He also had four touchdowns and no interceptions and finished with a quarterback rating of 146.0.

“I had no idea,” Rodgers said of the records. “That’s what happens sometimes when you’re in a good rhythm.”

James Jones led the receiving group with 11 catches for 178 yards, both career highs for the seventh-year wide receiver.


Keys to the Game: Redskins at Packers


Strike first, often

The Green Bay Packers went three-and-out on their first drive Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. They did it again to start the second half. The team was able to keep itself in the game with a few quick-strike drives, but that isn’t as good as establishing dominance right away. The Packers need to start quicker. A quick-strike drive to start the game would force the opponent, instead of the Packers, to play catch-up for the rest of the game.

Don’t limit Lacy


'Team 93' establishing a tone of its own

The Associated Press 49ers tackle Joe Staley (74) locks up with Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) after Matthews shoved quarterback Colin Kaepernick to the ground out of bounds Sunday at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

It wasn’t a smart play. The result wasn’t good for the Packers.

Still, when Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews dove onto San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick out of bounds in Sunday’s loss, it reflected something deeper about “Team 93,” as this, the 93rd team in Packers’ history, has started to call itself.

Matthews took Kaepernick to the ground and was rightly flagged. After talk all week about hitting the quarterback, Kaepernick’s teammates responded and a melee ensued, including a scuffle between Matthews and 49ers tackle Joe Staley.

A day later, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh ripped Matthews.

“If you’re going to go to the face, come with some knuckles, not an open slap,” Harbaugh said. “That young man works very hard on being a tough guy. He’ll have some repairing to do to his image after the slap.”


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