MINNEAPOLIS – Eddie Lacy was fat.
And James Jones was slow.
Two of the most-maligned members of an under-siege Green Bay Packers offense came through with unexpected performances in a 30-13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
With Lacy rushing 22 times for 100 yards and Jones catching six passes for 109 yards and one touchdown and one two-point conversion, the Packers snapped a three-game losing streak and are in a first-place tie with the Vikings at 7-3.
“That was huge,” Jones said of Lacy’s performance. “Whenever you can come out of the game balanced like that, the way he was running the ball, getting the hard tough yards, giving us balance. They had to stack the box, leaving us one on one on the outside, that was huge.
Afterward, the usually happy-go-lucky Lacy said he was “blessed.”
“I feel blessed by my teammates and the man upstairs,” he said. “When you do so well so early, you forget about that part. I thank my teammates for believing in me even when I had those bad games and wasn’t playing up to my standards.”
Lacy, who was demoted from the starting lineup and had rushed for 78 yards in the team’s previous five games, looked like he was in vintage form against a formidable Vikings defense. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry and had a long run of 27 that was jump-started by a signature spin move to start the run and included three broken tackles.
“We’ve all been taking our fair share of heat the last couple of weeks. Well-deserved but, I don’t think anybody more than Eddie,” guard T.J. Lang said. “He’s a guy that with what he’s been battling through with the injuries, he’s finally starting to get healthy. It’s something that we knew that we needed to get the run game going, especially when it gets cold like this the last half of the season.”
With Lacy rushing for 100 yards for the first time this season – but the fourth time in five career matchups against the Vikings – Green Bay had balance on offense after quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw 61 passes in last week’s loss to Detroit.
“We’ve got two great backs,” Rodgers said. “Eddie was really going today. He looked like he was 100 percent and he was running tough. He was breaking a lot of tackles, felt like his cuts were on point. And then James had a great catch-and-run on the screen. He’s been doing a great job for us but Eddie, I don’t think he’s had 22 carries in quite a while. So it was good to get him going and consistently go back to him and he gave us a lot tonight.”
Jones had vanished from the Packers’ offense, as well. Even with Rodgers whipping the ball all over the yard last week, Jones was targeted only twice. For his last three games, Jones had caught three passes (10 targets) for 59 yards. On Sunday, he made several key plays.
On the opening drive, he had a 25-yard catch-and-run on third down that set up a field goal. On the two-minute touchdown drive before halftime, he had a 14-yard reception. On the pivotal touchdown drive spanning the third and fourth quarters that gave Green Bay a 27-13 lead, Jones made three grabs. The first came on third-and-6, as Rodgers moved to his left and fired a strike to Jones, who made a juggling catch for 37 yards. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Rodgers escaped to his right and fired to Jones in the end zone, who managed to get both feet down inbounds for a 27-yard score.
“Man, when I threw my hand up, I didn’t think he was going to be able to squeeze it in the corner, but I forget who I’m playing with sometimes,” Jones said. “He threw it so hard, so fast, Newman, he realized he couldn’t even get to it and we were able to make a play in the back of the end zone.”
On a two-point conversion, Rodgers stepped up in the pocket and flipped the ball to Jones.
“We made plays,” Jones said. “Like I told you guys all week, the tough catches, the tough plays we were making when we were 6-0, we weren’t making them the last couple of weeks. We made them today, the tough catches, we ran the ball well. Aaron was making some crazy throws, and we just made plays. Did what we do.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.
Eddie Lacy, James Jones Deliver Unexpected Performances for Green Bay Packers
MINNEAPOLIS – Eddie Lacy was fat.