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Rookie Rushing Tandem Highlights Packers' OT Victory

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Rookie Rushing Tandem Highlights Packers' OT Victory

There was nothing pretty about what happened at Lambeau Field Sunday afternoon. Mike McCarthy hinted at such a fact at his presser after the game.

"We just had to grind it out," said the Packers' head coach. His team picked up their sixth win of the season after beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime -- their second overtime victory this season. "I liked the ruggedness of what we've had to go through. We'll be a better football team tomorrow because of what we accomplished today."

The Packers' 26-20 win kept them alive in the NFC playoff race for another week as they inch closer to a potential week 15 Aaron Rodgers return. That's only if the Packers can beat the Browns in Cleveland next week as well.

What truly shined in the midst of their ugly win was the rookie backfield tandem of Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones.

"That's Aaron Jones for you," said quarterback Brett Hundley. Jones' lone carry of the game came when Williams needed a breather in overtime in the middle of an eight-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard run from Jones.

"All he needs is one. Big play to come in and ice the game like that on one carry, can't do it better than that. I'm sure he's happy."

Jones was only the second Packers running back in franchise history to score a rushing touchdown in overtime, and the first since three decades since Jim Hargrove did it in 1987.

Williams, meanwhile, was the workhorse via the ground game through four quarters. He had 21 carries for the second-straight week and posted a career-high 113 yards as well as a touchdown. The Packers had 96 rushing yards on their game-tying and game-winning drives, and 76 of them belonged to Williams.

Jamaal Williams accounted for 113 of the Packers' 199 team rushing yards against the Buccaneers on Sunday. (USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin-USA TODAY Sports)

"Those two young guys are special and we're seeing it early in their careers," said right guard Jahri Evans, according to Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com.

Pro Football Focus tallied Williams with forcing three missed tackles and averaged 3.10 yards after contact.

The emergence of this young duo that has shown their respective flashes in individual increments this season may spell the doom of the Ty Montgomery-to-running back project. And if that didn't, then it was surely him being placed on injured reserve on Friday with a wrist injury that plagued him early in the season. Throw in two rib injuries in the span of a month-and-a-half and Montgomery's health is a serious question for his future.

For now, it's Williams and Jones running the show. The only problem is that the Packers will need to decipher who will get a majority of the carries as the No. 1 starter. Williams, who evidently has the hot set of legs at the moment, may be the favorite to handle most of those reps.

Hundley also helped the Packers' potent ground game with 66 of his own yards, making the 199-yard team rushing yards total that much more diverse.

Jones is rebounding from an MCL sprain that sidelined him for almost all of the team's last three games, but you couldn't tell on his first and last carry of the game that notched the Packers a win. He played just two offensive snaps on Sunday, and he made 50 percent of them count.

"It's confidence," said McCarthy. "Anytime you win, it's confidence. ... When you're finding different ways to win, it only galvanizes your football team and inspires confidence throughout the locker room."

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (66) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

We've gotten to see what McCarthy did in Jamal Williams. Now that he's using his vision he's a beast. If they can keep the running game going they should beat the Browns. The Browns are on CBS for some reason and they are awful.

Nick Perry's picture

"Now that he's using his vision he's a beast."

This is EXACTLY why Williams is having success now. Early in the season he was taking the hand off and running to the spot he was "Supposed" to run to. Now he's making a cut here, a jump cut there and finding a crease.

And NOT the crease in his O-Linemen rear end.

Tundraboy's picture

Love it NP. Crease. Lmao

flackcatcher's picture

WAY too early to write Ty Montgomery's football obit Zach. Packers love what he can do for their offensive scheme. I agree health is a issue. But with QB1 this is a racially different offense that fits Montgomery's skill set. Packers are not going to give up on having that so easily. Looking ahead, I see a showdown between the head coach and the front office on RB-FB vs TE/ILB-OLB after this season. Hard choices are going to be made, more slots may be lost on the offensive side due to the number of DB that have to kept regardless of who is DC. Glad I'm not Russ and Ted.

Ferrari Driveer's picture

"But with QB1 this is a racially different offense "

That's a true statement, but it's the skill set that Aaron Rodgers has compared to Hundley that is the difference maker.

flackcatcher's picture

True. Transcendence players come along once a generation. Rodgers is so good, we fans forget how most of the league lives. There is a serious QB shortage (both starting and backups) in the NFL. Hundley is above average NFL quarterback in today's league. If that does not scarce the owners, than I don't know what will.

Slim11's picture

I disagree about Hundley.

His inconsistency is what stands out most to me. He is athletic and can run. Physically, he has an above average arm but has not yet developed the touch or accuracy to be an "above average NFL quarterback." The decision making is poor but that's mostly due to inexperience.

It will be interesting to see Hundley live against the Browns. I'm not holding my breath to see if Hundley has another "flash-in-the-pan" game.

Zachary Jacobson's picture

I didn't say he was going to be completely wiped out of their plans and released or anything. He just can't stay healthy to remain as a running back, nor can he keep up with the rookies. If anything, I'm fully behind them moving him back to WR and using him in the same role they currently have Cobb in. Move him in and out of the backfield to create match-up problems all you want, they just need to find a way to get him on the field because his skill set is way too valuable not to.

flackcatcher's picture

I don't disagree Zach, much depends on MM use of the RB slots. The NFL has forced teams to discard the FB thru it rules changes. The Packers are one of the few teams that even use a FB, let alone carry two. At the current rate, if the NFL does not change it rules, players like Mays and Williams will be next on the chopping block. Players like Monty will have even more value, and frankly, that's not a good thing, not for players, not for the NFL, and especially not for us fans.

RCPackerFan's picture

Simply put I love this tandem.

They provide a great 1-2 punch.

Williams is finally showing why he was their top RB that they drafted. What we are seeing now compared to earlier in the year is that the game is slowing down for him. He is finding the holes, and making the right cuts. And he is absolutely punishing people when he carries the ball. He is not afraid to run through people.

I have brought up Jones a lot in the past about why I loved him right away. Just to refresh after seeing his highlights throughout college, it was clear that they got a hell of a player. And during the preseason he was proving that he was ready. Then he got his chance in the regular season and showed he was truly a steal.

What I really like about the pair is that they really aren't specialized RB's. Meaning, that they don't have to be used only in certain ways. They both can do it all. All around Williams is probably the more complete RB mostly because he is a better pass protector, but Jones is more explosive.

I hope the rest of the season they run the offense through these 2 RB's.

Also, I hope they do a little more read option stuff with Hundley. Adding the deception will help Hundley.

flackcatcher's picture

If they win at Cleveland next week, and QB1 is reactivated off IR, both MM and OC Bennett are going to have to fight the temptation to return to their Aaron Rodgers offense. the need to run it more must be first for two reasons. One: To protect the defense. This is one tired battered group, especially their secondary. Just like last year, this group is running on spit and duck tape. The more they are off the field, the more fresher they are, and more options Capers has for attacking. Two: The Packers need to protect Rodgers from himself. Exposing him outside the pocket leads opposing LB/DL to take the kind of shots that got him injured in the first place. Let the Packers O line do their jobs and like 2014 the hits Rodgers takes will be (hopefully) less. Besides, it time to UNLEASH THE RIPPER. Run to daylight.

AK Cheese's picture

I like that, Ripper time in December! Fresh legs too.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Yeah. Even assuming they win next week and ATL, SEA, DET and CAR lose again, and assuming ARod comes back, we still need to win out to make the dance.

I really don't think that is likely with this defense. They are below average at CB and (mysteriously) at S thanks to HHCD. And they are putrid at OLB. Putrid. And even though there is talent there, the deficit at coaching makes everything worse. The bottom line is that this defense is not good, and WILL absolutely get shredded by any decent NFL offense.

So. Running the ball and making teams fear ARod. Basically, our offense being our best defense, is the best way forward.

And I'm still not convinced that going 5-11 wasn't in the best long term interest of this team. If we sneak into the playoffs, no one is getting fired.

fthisJack's picture

i don't see the Packers making the playoffs even if they finish 10-6. there are too many teams in the hunt and its a long shot for them to sneak in. i would rather they sit Rodgers instead of exposing him to further injury. let Hundley finish the season and let the chips fall where they may. at least we will have a better idea of Hundley's value in the trade market and if the team gets hot and he plays well, it bodes good for a trade with a team desperate for a QB.

as far as the RB, i hope MM switches them off. no need to pound Williams into the ground and let Jones ride the pines. keep them both fresh and the opposing defense off balance with their 2 different running styles. i love how Jones makes those explosive cut backs and finds the open field and love how Williams punishes the defense. you have 2 good backs,MM, use them both!

dobber's picture

They have three backs they could rotate who can run and catch. Put two on the field, split one out. Split them both out. Lots of flexibility in how they threaten a defense.

RCPackerFan's picture

FC - yeah, I agree. I think even when QB1 comes back they need to focus the offense on using the RB's. They have 2 really good ones and the offense can be really effective with them. So use them.
Even when QB1 is going like he is, having a really good run game really helps him. It keeps the offense balanced, and makes this offense very dangerous.

I completely agree about the ball control offense helping the defense. Yesteray the defense simply got wore down in the 2nd half. The offense's first 3 possessions went 3 and out. The defense wore down.

Getting Rodgers back, improves the entire team!

dobber's picture

They'll need to run the ball to keep teams from pinning their ears back and coming after #12. Everyone's going to know that one good hit might put him out for the rest of the season.

RCPackerFan's picture

Very true.
We have no idea if Rodgers can or will play again this year.
If he does, great, but I think they need to run these guys as much as possible. Hopefully Rodgers is smart about it and doesn't take unnecessary risks. And trusts these guys to simply hand off to them.

But looking towards next year even, I think they need to plan on using these 2 RB's a lot.

dobber's picture

Look at how the worm has turned in NO. They're a RB-centered offense now with a really good OL. They have a sure-fire first-ballot HOF QB who really just manages that offense. Kamara and Ingram are flat-out killing it right now.

#12 is far better than Brees at this point, but when he comes back, this might be the formula for this team to keep winning games.

RCPackerFan's picture

Completely agree.

Albeit completely difference styles of offense, this years Saints team kind of reminds me of the Packers 2003 team. When they had an older veteran and turned the offense into a run first team. The Saints offense is where it is because of the run game, and improved defense.

When QB1 comes back, I think they need to use the run more often.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

NO has finally had a couple of good drafts after years of being terrible. They are starting 4 rookies, 2 on defense and have gotten contributions from 3 more. CB Lattimore and S Marcus Peters start and are so far ok, with LB Alex Anzalone (injured now I think) and DE Trey Hendrickson contributing. RT Ryan Ramcyck is starting for them and Kamara has been great. Nothing like getting 6 rookies playing pretty well to turn a team around.

In the 2016 draft, WR Michael Thomas, pick #47, has been a steal, FS Vonn Bell is pretty solid, and Sheldon Rankins flashed as a rookie and now starts.

Must be nice to get 7 starters and 2 contributors out of 2 drafts, with one (Michael Thomas) being a beast and the other all fairly decent to good.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Again we beat the bears . Bears. ...bear
and tampa bay . Wake up all nut jobs !!! Stop drinking the Kool-Aid you people just never learn to you in Packer fans Just Go With the Wind

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

On the contrary, I think there are many fans here who are not "going with the wind." No one doesn't have questions about TT/MM/DC anymore. No one. And I'd guess more than 50% want them all fired.

But if you are rooting for the team to lose for draft position, that is a hard ask for most fans. I'm really struggling with that myself.

marpag1's picture

Some people like to fling their weak accusations and I-told-you-so's out into the air, at the "Kool Aid drinkers" and "extreme homers," and other people who don't actually exist, mostly because they could never win a rational debate against people who actually DO exist.

Bear, meet Doug.

RCPackerFan's picture

Marpag -

My favorite part about his post... It was in response to mine where I said I love the tandem of Williams and Jones.

So I'm a kool-aid drinking nut job because I love our Rookie RB's...

Makes complete sense right?

marpag1's picture

No worries though. They'll confine all us nut jobs in the same institution and we'll just sit around all day drinking beer and watching football. I'm looking forward to it.

dobber's picture

That actually sounds like fun...

RCPackerFan's picture

That sounds better then my day job.

Cheers to that!

Nick Perry's picture

Me neither BM, I don't have a problem with it simply because the Packers will just get damaged in the playoffs again should they make it. Making the playoffs means the Packers are drafting in the 20's again. I think they needed to get in the top 12 at least for Thompson not to screw up the #1 pick because I have a horrible feeling he'll be back along with MM.

dobber's picture

There's been plenty of talk about firing management and coaches, but so long as TT is back, MM will be back. I would even go so far as to argue that any new GM would likely keep MM on for at least one more season, anyway. So whatever happens, I just don't see the Packers taking the field without MM as head coach in 2018. Whether MM has the gumption to go all Bob Sanders on DC this offseason or not, we'll have to see.

fthisJack's picture

it would be nice to see them in the top half of the draft this year with all the picks they have. i would sacrifice this season and sit Rodgers to keep him healthy for next year to accomplish that. see what you have in Hundley. if he performs well, then maybe his trade value goes up and GB can cash in there. if not then you know that he is not the answer as a backup QB.

RCPackerFan's picture

Doug - So because I said I love this RB tandem "I'm Kool-Aid drinking Nut Job".

Gotcha.

https://media.giphy.com/media/12xWfDQcGkbU1W/giphy.gif

dobber's picture

Sorry, I just like to see the Packers win.

...and why do you keep saying "you" Packers fans? If you ain't one, too, you're just a troll.

RCPackerFan's picture

Me to Dobber.

Again... Let me ask this question. What in my post in which he responded to, says that I'm a kool-aid drinking nutjob?

dobber's picture

The 'they beat the Bears and Tampa' and 'kool-aid' appear to have replaced 'fire Dom Capers' as the constant thread in this week's posts.

Maybe you should change your screen ID to "RCPackerFanKoolAidDrinkingNutJob".

RCPackerFan's picture

lol. love it.

marpag1's picture

Dude, your lips and tongue are totally green. You're drinking the kool aid. Look in the mirror hey.... Lol

RCPackerFan's picture

lol.

stockholder's picture

Finding the Right Holes. Well said. This offensive line has really improved. I think it's made the difference. Remember Monty and Williams both were hurt. I blame the OL. But Now: This offensive line is doing their job. And it's showing in the Rushing stats now. MM says the team gained Confidence. ( Williams especially! ) I see three good RBs that have become the strength of the offense. The running game is back.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

We beat the Bears and Tampa Bay what is your problem dude

croatpackfan's picture

What is your problem Doug?

You think you can do better? Apply for the job!

You think it is easy to beat Bears? Ask Steelers, Ravens and Panthers!

Youi thhink it is easy to win over TB? Ask Bills (and maybe Bears, Giants and Jets)!

And Packers has 6 wins, not 2. Check again, you lost your count through hate you are filled with. Be successful in your life, do not expect from others to be successful for you!

dobber's picture

Weren't they SUPPOSED to beat the Bears and Tampa?

Point Packer's picture

Took Fat Mike till 6min left in OT to give Aaron Jones the ball? Moron.

Bedrock's picture

Why are you name calling?
Seriously, Williams had a great game and it’s being questioned? As much as I like Jones, why run him when he’s coming back from injury and Williams is running well?

Houndog's picture

Kinda' late to this party but for the first time in a long time I applauded McPuffy's call on the winning touchdown.
After the bruising, pounding, power running of Williams all day long it was the perfect time to change it up to the quicker more elusive Jones, and it left the Tampa defenders holding their jocks with their jaws on the ground.
So kudos Mike, good call, but the replay clearly shows that this was all Jones!

fthisJack's picture

haha....thats what i thought too PP. Jones is a beast and MM refuses to alternate RB for whatever reason. change up these RB and keep the D off balance!!!

Point Packer's picture

How pathetic is the TE position in GB? Good god.

Bedrock's picture

I think Gronk, Kelce, etc. would disappear with Hundley.

dobber's picture

After that cheap shot he laid on White yesterday, I suspect Gronk is going to disappear for a few weeks, anyway. What an ass.

RCPackerFan's picture

That was cheap and dirty... I hope he gets at least a 2 game for that.

dobber's picture

They'll have to give him at least 4 games to make sure he gets at least 2 after appeal...but how do you appeal that? It was flagrant and intentional, after the whistle, against a defenseless player on the ground. He put that guy into the concussion protocol for crying out loud! If the league is serious about player safety and protecting against head injuries, he should get 6.

fthisJack's picture

he should be out as long as White is out with the concussion and 2 games mandatory.

croatpackfan's picture

Why are you calling God when you do not even respect him?

dobber's picture

I thought we all got one "phone-a-friend" lifeline?

Point Packer's picture

Cause he doesn't exist.

CAG123's picture

This should put an end to the Monty experiment but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve always visioned Ty as a total yards from scrimmage player anyway and he definitely has value as a dual threat weapon out of the back field and working the middle. Like a bigger yet considerably slower Darren Sproles but Williams and Jones complement each other too well to muddy things up trying to make Ty the feature back.

stockholder's picture

It won't. The offensive line is getting better. Monty was the #1 back, and will get that chance to keep it. Injuries have a way of sorting out who stays and who goes in Green Bay. Dorsey Levens was great coming out of the backfield. Monty is the new Dorsey Levens. Williams will be edgar bennett, Jones =Ahmad Green. Ripkowski is Kuhn now. You may even see Monty go to a TE position more , just to split the middle. Regardless , Monty will still be used as an experiment.

CAG123's picture

None of those comparisons are relevant to now. Ty didn’t show anything before his injuries to be able to keep his job but that’s fine because his best attribute is his versatility there was a point when he had me questioning whether the O-line was good at run blocking but Jones and now Williams have answered that question. Ty is best suited in various positions in the offense and not solely the backfield. Jones and Williams are a great 1-2 punch that need the bulk of the carries

dobber's picture

I would argue that Montgomery is best suited for a Percy Harvin type role. He's just not the athlete that Harvin is, but he creates headaches for defenses (get it? Headaches for defenses?).

fthisJack's picture

nobody showed anything at RB early in the year cause the O line was knocked into the backfield on every play. remember how"bad" everybody was saying Williams was. well it wasn't the running backs it was the O line that was the problem!

CAG123's picture

The Oline wasn’t healthy when the Packers faced the Cowboys, Aaron Jones as a natural RB just has better vision and makes decisive cuts. Monty was trying too hard to like LeVeon Bell just tip toeing behind the line.

HankScorpio's picture

Completely agree. The names from the past as just that, the past. The entire current group needs to work on pass pro to measure up to any of those guys. I don't see much alignment in style either.

What they have now is something they can work with. Williams and Jones have both proven they can run. Williams has more power and Jones has more home run ability. That's the kind of complementary skill set that is ideal for a 2-back approach. Give them both touches depending on the situation. Keep coaching them up in the pass game. The absence of Rodgers has revealed that they did well drafting those RBs in 2017.

That's a positive development that allows Monty to move back to the role of versatile WR/RB/Returner. It was good that he was able to step in with the injuries last year and it's good to get him back to a role he's more naturally suited to fill.

Tundraboy's picture

Now for some Mays. Along with Rip, we're set.

fthisJack's picture

we still haven't seen what Mays can do cause MM has him on lock down for fumbling. Mays might get a carry in preseason next year to see if he learned his lesson. i think people may be writing him off prematurely too. he's got a lot of the same skills as Williams and i can't wait to see him get some meaningful snaps.

Finwiz's picture

I'll tell you what.....they don't miss Lacy (I had my doubts), and sure as hell don't have to consider a RB in next years draft. Both those guys that played yesterday are pretty darn good. I just hope Jones can stay healthy because he looks like a heck of a game changer to me.
Williams is better than I initially thought too.

Oh - and Montgomery can just return to wide receiver. He provides a type of receiver we don't have right now.

WKUPackFan's picture

"they don't miss Lacy (I had my doubts)..."

Revisionist history. You have authored at least 50 comments criticizing and/or personally insulting Lacy. You have never once mentioned having any doubts about the Packers missing Lacy, until now.

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