Amidst all the post game chatter surrounding the latest addition to the Packers list of 18 injured players, James Jones and Randall Cobb, somewhere in the locker room Eddie Lacy was probably wondering, “When are they going to just give me the damn football?” The Ashwaubenon Eleven escaped Baltimore with their first victory in 39 years, dealing the Ravens only their fourth loss at home in the last 30 games, mainly because their prize rookie running back, Lacy, came through in the clutch when they absolutely needed it.
In a painstakingly brutal game through three periods that saw both teams struggle on offense, it was Lacy that stood out when the dust had finally settled, bouncing off left tackle and sliding to a stop on the final play of the game that sealed the deal for the Packers, although the ending should never have included all that drama.
Despite giving up another inexplicable 4th and 21 conversion to the Ravens late in the game that eventually led to on one-handded TD grab by the Ravens Dallas Clark that closed the gap to 19-17, it had been an otherwise gritty performance by Dom Caper’s injury riddled unit, led by none other than A.J. Hawk, who had a career day in a career that has had few, if any, memorable moments.
And without two of his top targets at his disposal late in the game, Jones and Cobb, Aaron Rodgers had put up mostly pedestrian numbers all day. A 64 yard TD bomb to Jordy Nelson off a deadly play action fake (thank you again, Eddie Lacy) and another big 53 year hook up with a nearly invisible Jermichael Finley on the final, game clinching drive, bailed out an otherwise mediocre day for Rodgers.
But it was Lacy, from the very first series to the final drive, that should have received the game ball for Green Bay. The rookie from Alabama appears to be the big, bruising running back that the Green and Gold have longed for since, what, the days of John Brockington and McCarthur Lane? Lacy has, it appears, an understanding of the patience needed to identify the seams of Mike McCarthy’s zone blocking run scheme, at least from what we are allowed to see so far. He finished with 23 carries for 123 yards, running game language for “value”, which few Packers fans in the last 20 years would fail to comprehend.
Lacy becomes even more important to the offense now that the receiving corps is thinning out. He also becomes the battering ram that could keep the costly sacrificial time outs the Packers seem to waste every time they face a third and short, back into McCarthy’s pullover pockets.
Most Cheeseheads barely grasp the real meaning of a true running game, but with a healthy Eddie Lacy in the lineup on a regular basis, there’s no real option other than to grind it out now that the receiving corps had been infected by the plague of injuries on the Green Bay sidelines. Just give him the ball, on a regular basis please, maybe even on third and one.