What many football pundits, analysts and Packer fans have been looking for is a Packer running game. Last week, even I made the point that the Packers didn’t have a running game… not by choice, but by necessity, based on personnel. But, I think they may have answered the call for “balance” with rookie James Starks. Starks was a sixth round pick who missed his entire senior season at the U of Buffalo with a shoulder injury. Then, after a hamstring injury back in May, Starks spent the first 12 weeks on the PUP until his NFL debut against the ‘Niners. Starks showed vision and power while carrying 18 times for 73 yards. He isn’t Adrian Petersen, Matt Forte, or Javid Best…but I think he could be the answer to those who question the Packers’ ability to run the ball in December and January. After seeing Starks this week, is there anyone who thinks we’d have gone for a QB sneak from the 2 yd line… twice? Me neither.
When it counted against the ‘Niners, the Packers put it together and played well. A few disappointing moments as we had to burn 2 timeouts in the Red Zone, only to miss a chip shot FG. Then Masthay short-legged a punt that gave the Niner’s great field position and led to their 2nd field goal. The rest of the game went well, unless tackling the ‘Niners most dangerous player counts… then the missed tackle that let Vernon Davis run 50 extra yards for a 66 yd TD with under 2 minutes left in the half was probably not a plus. But enough of the flagellation, the Packers played an overall good game.
Enough can’t be said about the offense. I’ve stated my feelings on Starks, the next month will show whether I am right. For the rest of the O, even with the missed chip-shot FG on the first drive, they managed to put up 34 points. That was done in sometime spectacular fashion with DD and his rambling, tackle breaking TD. Then with a 17 play 8:35 drive, that while it only ended in a FG, showed the Packers are ready to play ball-control to close out a game when necessary. The defense, barring that one BIG mistake, played great. Granted it wasn’t versus a great offense, but they had some weapons, so keeping them to 1 TD was great since the Niners were in Goal-to-go twice. I don’t think there is any game that the Packers can’t win in the remaining weeks, including at the Patriots. They need to play one game at a time, meaning next week vs the Lions cannot be a look over game before facing the Patriots. 4 weeks left…All of them important.
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