Packers XLV

Two Good Calls: McCarthy Hands Himself the Play Chart and then Hands Lacy the Ball.

Posted December 14th, 2015 @ 03:12am

When the news broke a few hours before kickoff that Mike McCarthy had made the decision to resume play calling duties, my immediate thought was, will we notice? Will it make a difference? Could it provide the shot in the arm this offense desperately needs?

Well, for one day at least, the results couldn't have been any better. McCarthy committed to running the ball and never veered off that game plan, with 44 rushes for 230 yards. The Pack ran more than they passed and ran more than 80 plays, for the first time in what seems like forever.

Reading the tea leaves leading up to the game, it seemed like this would be an opportunity for Eddie Lacy to begin anew, with McCarthy calling him rejuvenated in practice this week. He was named the starter and he made the most of it, looking like the Lacy of old, running with power, running with a purpose and running as if his job depended on it (which may not have been far from the truth).

With the running game humming along, the passing game flourished. Rodgers found a rhythm in the first half, hitting eight different receivers and finding some success on third down. The Pack converted half of them, a huge improvement over the last six weeks. When the Dallas defense stiffened in the third quarter, McCarthy and the offense didn't panic, kept pounding the ball until Lacy and Starks found some holes in the game's final five minutes to find the end zone twice and turn this one into a laugher late.

Defensively, the Pack was solid, save for a couple ridiculously huge running plays by Darren McFadden. More than half of their rushing yards came on two runs that totaled nearly 100 yards. They completely contained Matt Cassell's meager passing attack, holding them to 119 yards through the air. The end zone pick by Sam Shields in the first quarter prevented the Cowboys from striking first. And when Shields exited in the second quarter with a concussion, there was a danger that Dez might suddenly find room. But Damarius Randall was more than up to the challenge and Dez finished with just one catch for nine yards.

The defense knew it held the edge against this pedestrian offense and was able to consistently get off the field, allowing just one third down conversion in 11 tries--the 'Boys were 0-2 on fourth down. Dom Capers kept applying the pressure and Cassell could never get comfortable.

All in all, a dominant effort by the Pack, who held a huge edge in time of possession, didn't turn the ball over and put the game away by running it down their opponent's throats on the final two drives. It wasn't a perfect day: on an early drive the Pack couldn't score from the goal line and turned it over on downs and they held just a seven point lead with five minutes to go, despite dominating the game from the start.

But compared to what we've seen over the past six weeks, it was precisely the type of effort we were desperate to see. On this rainy afternoon at Lambeau, McCarthy and the offense looked a lot like its old self. Whether that will continue remains to be seen. They'll be tested these next two weeks against solid defenses in Oakland and Arizona.

But after leaving the Cowboys in their dust, it sure seems like McCarthy made the right call. Both of them.

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Comments (7):

Great to see the OL open up holes for Lacy and Starks. Very impressed with the running tandem. I liked when McCarthy gave up play calling duties to focus on other aspects, but sadly, he gave the play calling duties to the wrong person. I have a gut feeling Clements will move on at the end of the season.

on December 14th, 2015 at 02:18pm

Mike is way better. Besides the running plays, he gets Cobb the ball in space and uses the middle of the field. It seemed that all of our passes were to the sidelines or deep shots to Adams, who finally had his targets reduced.

on December 14th, 2015 at 08:37am

Like I wrote in the previous post Eddie Lacy holds the key for future Packer success. Keep him away from the Whoppers and Pizza with future weight fines. Without writing on the big reasons for success against are 3 maybe overlooked ones......1- MM going to the short in space quick passes rather than so many sideline throws seen this year. 2- John Kuhn got his most offensive snaps of the year. MM left him in as a better blocker than our tight ends to pick up the pass rush and he was solid. Every year he fights for a job and every year he is solid. Expect more of him the rest of the way. 3- If Jeff Janus cant get on the field as a wide receiver ( I still dont know why?) he is an excellent future Pro Bowler as a gunner on special teams. His 3 special team tackles for a minus 2 yards may be overlooked in the big picture but they gave the defense great starting position. GO PACK GO

on December 14th, 2015 at 08:53am

OSSG! Janis on special teams is awesome. When Bush left, I really wasn't sure we had a guy who could do what he did , but Janis definitely does it. Oakland will be interesting for sure. Let's hope Shields is recovers quickly. That looked nasty. I have to say I still trusted that our rookie backs could handle the situation without Shields. It may have even made our defense less predictable to an easily confused Cassel. Just a nice solid game over all for the Pack.

on December 14th, 2015 at 09:22am

GREAT job OL, no one has mentioned that , and defense rose up again. Raiiders will be tough after beating denver with some mojo now. Like I have said before , it's not who u play but when u play them. the bears have nothing to play for and will play like pigs, just watch and see. talking about the vikings, you all watched the Az. game, did you notice, it was all crossing routes, like I have screaming for for 2 months, I hope MM took notice when we play them and Oakland. Vey fun season, Polly allen said 2 weeks ago, they win last three, now he is already saying he just wants to beat us in playoffs, funny how viking fans change there minds so fast, By the way, where is Cane and screech?? Ruesse said 2 weeks ago Vikes win the division, last nite on sports show he said they should make playoffs, Minnesota media, so misguided and envious.. Staying healthy is key to the rest of the season. GO Packers.

on December 14th, 2015 at 11:24am

Only for this week...everyone, SING ALONG! "Bear Down, Chicago Bears! Make every play, clear the way to Victory!!"...

on December 15th, 2015 at 04:01pm

Damn Montgomery hurt yet!!!!!, next time TT listen to me and take lockett, God he would have looked great in green and gold with Rodgers toy. what a mistake.

on December 17th, 2015 at 02:44pm

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