Packers XLV

Rodgers, Starks lead Pack to 34-16 Win Over Niners

Posted December 5th, 2010 @ 09:12pm

18 carries for 73 yards. For a Packer running back. After nearly two seasons on the sidelines, Packer rookie James Starks finally put on a uniform and was very impressive in his first NFL action, giving the Pack some tough yards on the ground and giving the offense hope of a more balanced attack in the tough final four games on the schedule.

Expect to see Starks get the lion's share of the carries the rest of the way if he can stay healthy. He hit the hole hard, ran with toughness and looked like the kind of guy who can burst through a hole and break some tackles along the way.

As has been the case a lot this season, the Packers came out of the locker room at halftime and turned a close game into a laugher. A late second quarter defensive meltdown had narrowed a 14-6 lead to 14-13 at intermission. But Aaron Rodgers struck quickly to Donald Driver, whose tough run after the catch was the play of the game. Another TD on the next drive and the Pack had its cushion and the 49ers were done.

There were areas for concern. The defense surrendered chunks of yards and big plays to tight end Vernon Davis. There were penalties on special teams again and the offense was very slow starting. They burned two timeouts on the opening drive--an impressive drive that chewed up half the quarter, but resulted in no points when Mason Crosby missed a short field goal.

But in the end, the Packers had too many offensive playmakers. And without Frank Gore the 49ers didn't scare Dom Capers and the Packers defense on the ground.

So the Packers improve to 8-4 with two road games ahead. The Lions are next and they led the Bears for much of their game on Sunday, despite playing with third string QB Drew Stanton. A Devin Hester punt return gave the Bears the spark they needed. The Lions have lost their last 19 division games, but this will not be a gimme, especially with the players potentially looking ahead to a Sunday night game in New England the following week.

With wins by the Eagles, Giants, Bears and Saints the Packers cannot afford a slip up as they continue to jockey for playoff positioning as they begin the final quarter of their season.

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Comments (7):

I've mentioned James Starks several times on this site....even showed a scouting report on him. He finally got his chance and performed against a good run defense. He seems to be a Ryan Grant clone....dependable but not flassy runner who can get multiple carries. Would like to see him get some carries outside but a lot like Grant a between the tackles type that hits the hole better than the dancing Jackson. I think Jackson could become our Chester Taylor type of back a dependable receiver out of the backfield. Defense was solid but will be going against more capable QB's the rest of the schedule. The Lions will be tough on the road and our pass defense against Johnson needs to tighten up. Still get nervous with our kickoff and return special team play. Getting to time of season where we might have to start using Woodson and some of our better tacklers on special teams. Let's cherish this game as ARod and Jennings may be the best pitch and catch in the NFL right now. Goes to show how some running game can really help Rodgers, et al. GO PACK GO !!

on December 5th, 2010 at 04:26pm

FINALLY! I can quit nagging Sinny's website with questions about Starks! :D A great debut for a 1st NFL game from a guy that hasn't played football in what, almost 2 yrs?! This kid seems hungry as hell! HOPE FOR THE RUNNING GAME! GO PACK GO!!!

on December 5th, 2010 at 07:05pm

I normally agree with Davey and I want to be optimistic but it *might* be a little soon to put Starks in the Packer Hall of Fame. It was one game against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Starks is still a rookie who has only played one NFL game after two years of injuries. Packer defense woke up and the offensive playmakers continue to make plays. Very excited to see how this plays out. Bears at Lambeau for the NFC North? Also, the special teams coach needs to be fired, Packers special teams have been terrible for a while now and most of that comes down to effort.

on December 5th, 2010 at 10:21pm

@Scheny: I am a tool. I conflated the Packers and Vikings game and I was thinking about the Bills run defense. You are correct about SFs defense.
It WAS encouraging to see the Packers getting yards on the ground when everyone knew they were going to run. However, I just think that it is too soon to have high expectations for a rookie who sat on the sidelines for two years. Let's hope he can do it! Go Pack!

on December 6th, 2010 at 01:07pm

Actually, SF is in the top 10 in rushing defence. It is the best part of their defence, their Dline and linebackers. I don't think anyone has put Starks in the the Hall of Fame yet but there is (and should be) some optimism because he was a decisive runner and seems to have the tools to be more effective than either BJ or Kuhn as our main rushing threat. ----- He is similar to Grant, although his top end speed is much better than Grant. His first game was a rousing success and some credit belongs to the Oline for working hard to give him somewhere to run. Time will tell how well he can do but it was critical that he get a good start. --- Looking forward to the Lions game! Go Pack!

on December 6th, 2010 at 06:58am

sorry, meant "defense".............there's no room for poor spelling on "The"

on December 6th, 2010 at 06:59am

Unfortunately, I could only listen to the game yesterday so I'll have to take your word on Starks. Let's hope he's another great addition by TT. It did surprise me that we started out so slow and I was shocked when I turned a half hour late to hear we were behind. How could the next four games be any more important with the season finale possibly sending someone home.

on December 6th, 2010 at 09:13am

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