Why they lost: The Green Bay Packers drop the NFC North crown to Minnesota
By Kenn Korb
The run game (or lack thereof)
With this team unable to do much consistently in the passing game for weeks, it has seemed like the way this team has needed to go offensively is by utilizing the running game.
The best example of that working was in the game against Dallas; the scoring stayed low most of the game while they whittled away at the defense on the ground until the floodgates opened in the fourth quarter to blow the game open.
It appeared we were going to see a high dose of Eddie Lacy and James Starks here. Mike McCarthy even began the game calling run-heavy formations (fullback, multiple tight ends).
Unfortunately, that didn’t end up providing much success.
They went with the run-heavy approach for most if not all of the first half, but only came away with three points for their efforts.
They were still just as inconsistent as when they were failing to beat man coverage in the passing game, leading that game-plan to get mostly scrapped for the second half.
Lacy and Starks combined for a meager 58 yards on 21 carries.
With the run game failing to provide the necessary production to stick with it, the onus was then shifted back to the passing game to have to make something happen. As they have shown all year, they couldn’t beat man coverage with any consistency.
The only time the offense tends to have any success in 2015 with the passing game has been a high-risk setup: playing basically a full-time hurry-up game. The success has been shown in the way they have come back from deficits to make things close when they were down multiple scores (though part of that lies in the defense backing off in intensity to some degree).
That is inherently dangerous in at least one sense for the team running it: it puts strain on the offensive linemen; with how injured that group has been lately, it is even harder to rely on.
The only way right now that the team would be able to do anything offensively without leaning heavily on that risky proposition is by running effectively; since they couldn’t do that, the offense couldn’t provide enough to help out and take advantage of the mostly-strong play of their defense (13 point allowed by them).