The Green Bay Packers have had issues on offense for the past few months, but Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, they finally found some normalcy.
Maybe it was because Mike McCarthy took over the play calling duties or maybe it had to do with the offensive line dominating, but Green Bay finished its 28-7 win over Dallas with 81 plays, 44 of them runs.
Consequently, the Packers ran for 230 yards and racked up a total of 435, their first time eclipsing 400 total yards since playing Carolina four games ago.
Aaron Rodgers wasn’t great. But he didn’t have to be. He didn’t create big plays (just one 20 yard pass play) but didn’t make any mistakes either. He threw two touchdowns and ran for two very important first downs.
Yet the day belonged to Eddie Lacy, James Starks and the offensive line.
Lacy steamrolled his way to 124 yards and averaged more than five yards per carry. He also had a 26-yard reception.
Starks ran for 71 yards, including a game-clinching 30-yard touchdown, and showed his big play ability once again.
The impact of McCarthy is hard to know at this point with three games still to come. But one thing that is true, is that the Packers had a better tempo offensively and finally, finally, seemed to find a rhythm.
There were bad drives, particularly a few to start the third quarter, and some short-yardage struggles, but for the most part the Packers were efficient.
Green Bay converted 7-of-14 third downs and did a great job of finishing with 14 fourth quarter points on two, clock-killing drives.
Both McCarthy and Rodgers said after the game that a focus was running fewer plays with checks. They wanted to trust the play calls more and it seems to have worked.
The plays seemed to get in quicker and maybe the team simply had more confidence knowing they came from McCarthy. But there is no question that the change jump started a sluggish offense that tonight, made the Packers look like a legitimate NFC contender.
The Packers problems aren’t fixed, but maybe with McCarthy calling plays, they soon will be. All I know is the Packers offense was better than it’s been in a month and that’s a good sign with three December football games to go.