Sunday, December 05, 2010

Packers down 49ers 34-16

On a typical December day in Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers did what they typically do on a December game day at home: win. The Packers beat a capable, but subpar, San Francisco 49ers squad 34-16.

The first half, however, was ugly. The Packers offense started crisply, combining runs and passes to move the ball before petering out deep in the redzone (again) and watching K Mason Crosby's field goal attempt ding (again) off the left upright for no points. After that, coach Mike McCarthy's itchy trigger finger abandoned the run altogether and saw the offense sputter as a result. The Packers were down 3-0 at the end of the 1st quarter. They only led at half 14-10 after giving up a late TD after their own score.

But coming out of the locker room following the halftime break, the Packers' offense put up 20 points, 14 in the third quarter and 6 in the fourth, while only allowing the Niners 3 more points the entire second half.

The game also witnessed the first play of rookie RB James Starks, who many fans -- and coaches -- have been waiting to see on the field. Starks was a 6th round draft pick out of Buffalo who missed his entire senior year due to injury. He hadn't played a down of football since 2008. He also started this season with the Pack on the PUP list. Still, many were enamored with the possibility of what he might bring to the Pack's running game, which has been woeful at best following the loss of starter Ryan Grant in game #1. Fans got a glimpse of that today. Starks rushed 18 times for 73 yards, or a 4.1 yard-per-carry average. He had a long run of 16 yards. Starks has an upright running style which exposes him to possible injury more so than someone who runs with a lower pad level. Whether this is something running backs coach Edgar Bennett can work with him on or whether this is just his natural style remains to be seen. But any time a Packers running back actually leads in rushing yards rather than the Packers' QB, that's a plus. He didn't turn the ball over and always got positive yards, if memory serves. Expect to see more of Mr. Starks in the future for the Pack. Yay!

This was a game the Packers were expected to win and did. It might not have been pretty, especially in the early going, but it's what's up on the scoreboard when the clock reads 0:00 that matters. And that was: Packers 34 - 49ers 16.

Next up, the Lions in Detroit. The Packers will need to focus on them and not look past them to the Patriots a week later. That will be the biggest challenge.

But more about the Pack and the Lions in the week ahead. For now, let's savor this return to victory.

Go Pack Go!!!