Packers' Eddie Lacy runs during the first half of an NFL
football game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015,
in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY, Wis. —
With his offense mired by inconsistency
this season, Packers coach Mike McCarthy decided to make a change
He's calling the plays again in Green Bay.
Eddie Lacy ran for 124 yards and a touchdown and fellow running
back James Starks added two scores in the Packers' 28-7 win over the
Green Bay (9-4) has a one-game lead in the NFC North over
Minnesota after its second straight victory following a 1-4 slide.
"It's definitely a springboard for us," Lacy said. "We have three
games left, we've got to finish these games out."
With 435 yards and 29 first downs, the Packers got better balance
and production out of an offense that still struggled at times with
penalties and short-yardage situations. The defense and running game
came up with big plays in the fourth quarter.
Packers' Sam Shields (37) celebrates his interception with
teammate Micah Hyde (33) during the first half of an NFL
football game against the Dallas Cowboys.
The biggest change for the Packers this
week was McCarthy taking back play-calling responsibility from
associate head coach Tom Clements. He called it a tough personal
decision to make with a long-time assistant.
"But professionally it was what I felt I needed to do," McCarthy
Instead of suggesting plays to Clements, as he had the past four
weeks, it was now Clements suggesting plays to McCarthy.
So there was McCarthy again, communicating the final calls to
quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a combination that had worked so well for
so many years.
"But I don't think it's been about the play-calling," quarterback
Aaron Rodgers said. "It's been about the execution. We haven't
executed really well. Today was a little better."
Whatever the reason, the Packers pulled away in the end.
Dallas' touchdown came on Robert Turbin's 7-yard run midway through
the third quarter to make it 14-7.
The Cowboys (4-9) suffered a setback to their chances of winning the
mediocre NFC East.
"These teams, teams like Green Bay, they're going to go to another
level here as they get on near the playoffs," Cowboys owner Jerry
Jones said. "That's the way you do it in the NFL, and we weren't up
to it tonight."
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy calls a play during the first
Rodgers threw for 218 yards and two
scores. But all the Packers really needed from their star
quarterback late in the game was to hand off the ball.
Lacy and Starks each had touchdown runs in the fourth quarter during
the rainy evening.
Dallas also had success on the ground, with Darren McFadden running
for 111 yards on nine carries. Dallas rushed for 171 yards, and 80
came on four plays that led to Turbin's score.
But the Cowboys' passing game struggled.
Packers' Aaron Rodgers celebrates Eddie Lacy's touchdown run
during the second half.
Matt Cassel, starting his sixth game
for the injured Tony Romo, was 13 of 29 for 114 yards. A pass that
deflected off star receiver Dez Bryant's hands was intercepted in
the end zone by Sam Shields in the first quarter.
Bryant was held to one catch for 9 yards. He had a long reception in
the second quarter overturned on replay — the same thing happened to
him last season during the Cowboys' loss to the Packers in an NFC
divisional round playoff game.
The latest reversal wasn't as big a deal to Bryant.
"It is what it is, man. When they called it incomplete, it was
incomplete," Bryant said.
Dallas was forced to punt. Green Bay scored on its next possession
on Rodgers' 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Richard Rodgers to
make it 14-0 with 2:40 left in the second quarter.
Packers' James Starks runs for a touchdown during the second
That was it for Green Bay's offense
until a 12-play, 84-yard drive in the fourth that ended with a
30-yard touchdown run from Starks on second-and-25. The Packers
gained 78 yards on nine carries on the series.
The Packers ran out the clock from there. The Packers finished with
230 rushing yards on 44 carries, led by Lacy's 24 attempts.
A week after getting disciplined for missing curfew before the win
over Detroit, Lacy was serenaded to chants of "Eddie! Eddie" by
rain-soaked Packers fans.
"I was just making sure everything that I was doing was the right
thing to do," Lacy said.
NOTES: Cowboys TE Jason Witten finished with five catches for
40 yards. ... The Cowboys managed just 11 first downs. ... Starks,
the second part of Green Bay's one-two backfield punch, had 71 yards
rushing on 11 carries, and 32 yards receiving on four catches. ...
Shields left the game with a concussion in the second quarter after
making a sliding tackle on the Dallas sideline. ... The Packers
rushed for more than 200 yards for the first time since gaining 202
on Oct. 25, 2009, against Cleveland.