Grant hitting his stride

Packers RB Ryan Grant was the last player to rush for more than 100 yards against the Vikings, and that was two years ago. He is hitting his stride this season and preparing to face the Vikings on Sunday.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy felt Ryan Grant's breakout performance Sunday was due, in part, to his ability to run "on time."

Grant gashed a bad Cleveland run defense for season highs of 27 carries and 148 rushing yards in the Packers' 31-3 road victory.

"I thought our offensive line did an outstanding job finishing," running backs coach Edgar Bennett said. "(Grant) did an outstanding job of finishing and breaking tackles. He did a great job as far as his course. When he's running and hitting the right aiming points, pressing his course, utilizing his blockers, that's the starting point of everything."

Grant's first 100-yard game of the season included a 37-yard run, his longest since a 57-yarder on opening day of the 2008 season.

Until Sunday, Grant had been mostly ineffective running the football. He amassed all of 347 yards in the first five games and was averaging just 3.8 yards per carry.

The early-season struggles included an 11-carry, 51-yard outing Oct. 5, when the Packers lost 30-23 at Minnesota.

The Packers will be looking for Grant and the running game to have a better showing when they meet the Vikings again Sunday, this time at Lambeau Field. Minnesota (6-1) leads the NFC North, while Green Bay (4-2) is in second place.

"He might've had more than 11 carries for the 51 yards if he had just done a few things (better)," Bennett said of Grant's first game against the Vikings. "Sometimes, it comes down to being productive with the opportunities you do get. (Sunday), he made the most of those opportunities. There were some that should've been even more (yards).

"It was positive ... and heading in the right direction. We just have to be consistent."

Feeding the ball to Grant more than 20 times, which has been the case the last two games, is considered essential in the rematch with Minnesota. The Vikings forced the Packers into a one-dimensional attack three weeks ago and pounced on quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was sacked a career-high eight times.

"When you talk about continuity and timing, that doesn't always reference just the passing game," McCarthy said. "It also references the run game. It's got to fit together, and I think we took a big step (Sunday). Obviously, the way Ryan ran the ball was a big part of it."

NOTES

  • TE Jermichael Finley suffered a left knee sprain in the 31-3 win at Cleveland on Sunday. The injury isn't considered severe, but Finley is a long shot to play in the upcoming game against the Vikings. That would be a key loss, since Finley has emerged as the team's top playmaker at tight end the last few games. Finley had career highs of six catches and 128 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown, in the Packers' 30-23 loss at Minnesota on Oct. 5.

  • LT Chad Clifton will need more rehab time this week as he tries to return from an aggravated right ankle sprain. Clifton might be able to practice Friday, which would be imperative for him to possibly play in Sunday's pivotal game. For now, rookie T.J. Lang would remain the starter after filling in for Clifton in the last game.

  • C Jason Spitz was to undergo further testing Tuesday for lower back spasms that have kept him out of the starting lineup the last two games. Spitz missed the Oct. 18 win over the Lions. He was activated Sunday but contributed sparingly in a special teams role. The Packers won't know until Wednesday whether he could have a chance to play Sunday. For now, Scott Wells remains the starter.

  • S Derrick Martin suffered a strained hamstring in the last game. He is expected to miss some practice time this week.

  • QB Aaron Rodgers compiled a career-high passer rating of 155.4 in Sunday's big win. He was an efficient 15-for-20 for 246 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Rodgers also wasn't sacked for the first time in six games this season, after he came in with a league-high 25 sacks.

  • WR Donald Driver had the biggest offensive play of the game Sunday. He reeled in a short pass from Rodgers on a blitz read and darted with football in hand the final 62 yards of a 71-yard touchdown in the second quarter — the Packers' longest play of the season. It ties for the fifth-longest reception by Driver in his 11-year career.

  • RB Ryan Grant snapped out of an early-season funk Sunday by carrying the football 27 times for 148 yards, his first 100-yard game since the 2008 regular-season finale. Grant also had a season-high run of 37 yards and scored a touchdown.

  • WR Greg Jennings led a balanced passing attack Sunday with five catches for 52 yards. Jennings has been a top target for QB Aaron Rodgers in the last two games after Jennings was upset about his lack of involvement in the offense earlier in the season. Jennings, though, hasn't had a touchdown catch since the season opener.

  • CB Charles Woodson had a hand in both of the Packers' takeaways Sunday. He picked off a Derek Anderson pass for his team-leading fourth interception and also forced a fumble by WR Joshua Cribbs that LB Brandon Chillar recovered.

  • LB Aaron Kampman had one of Green Bay's two sacks of Derek Anderson on Sunday. Kampman, who has three sacks this season, recorded sacks in back-to-back games for the first time since he had at least one in each of the first three outings last season.

  • WR Brett Swain (knee) was placed on injured reserve. Swain had played in all six games this season but had not made a reception.

  • WR Jake Allen was added to the Packers' active roster from the practice squad. He takes the place of WR Brett Swain, who went on injured reserve with a knee injury.


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