Eric Baranczyk shines a light on something that's been bothering me since watching the Packers less than overwhelming ground game against the Lions, only one week after they pulverized the then third ranked 49er run defense:
I know in the last few weeks, people have seen a little bit of a spark with the running game and they’re thinking, this is going to be it, the next game is going to be the one where the Packers get 150, 160 yards on the ground. Ryan Grant had 20 carries for 61 yards. And he had 15 yards on his first carry. So after that, he gained 46 yards on 19 carries. That’s a 2.4 average. That’s terrible. No matter how much hope some people see in that running game, it’s too spotty. The interior line has trouble getting to the second level and maintaining blocks. It’s the same old problems.
The only reason for them to use the running game is because they have to, not because they’re good at it. You have to run a little bit to keep linebackers and safeties biting on play-action when you roll-out and things like that, but it’s not going to be a staple of that offense.
As maddening as it is, I tend to agree with this. How can a team look so dominate against such a good run defense one week and then so blah the next week against inferior competition? To my eye, it seems that McCarthy's commitment to running the ball in domed environments is less than 100 percent. (And yes, this observation is completely unsubstantiated. I look forward to nerds everywhere inundating me with data comparing McCarthy's tendencies outside vs. inside) When presented with a controlled environment, McCarthy, no matter how well the run is working, likes to sling it. Again, just my uniformed observation, but it will be interesting to see how much the run game comes to the fore, if it does at all, with all but the last game on the Packers' schedule set to be at the mercy of the elements.
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