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Eddie Lacy's illness still being monitored

Defense missed chances for takeaways and didn’t close out the game


GREEN BAY—Packers running back Eddie Lacy was still battling a stomach ailment on Monday after his 125-yard rushing performance the previous day in Minnesota.

"He's fighting through a GI illness," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "He was in today for a 're-gen' workout. It's something we're still monitoring."

McCarthy said he was aware of Lacy's illness prior to Sunday's contest, but when it didn't seem to affect his game, it didn't affect the offense's approach either.

Lacy carried the ball a season-high 25 times, including 10 times on two fourth-quarter drives, in the 24-21 victory over the Vikings. His 125 rushing yards were also a season best, and he scored twice, on a one-yard plunge and a 10-yard shovel pass.

He racked up 65 of his 138 yards from scrimmage in the final period, including five straight runs for 27 yards to drain the final 3:23 off the clock, when one can only imagine how much energy and stamina he had left.

"It's really a credit to Eddie," McCarthy said. "He's a heck of a football player. For him to go out and have that performance in that situation speaks volumes of the type of person he is."

McCarthy reiterated that chalking up a grind-it-out victory the way the Packers did was good for the team, and being able to rely on the ground game at crunch time will only help the offense in the long run.

The Packers were on their way a year ago to developing the most balanced offense in McCarthy's time as head coach, putting up 44 points with 182 yards rushing and 285 passing at Minnesota in Week 8, but QB Aaron Rodgers was lost to a broken collarbone the very next game.

This year, the fast-paced goal of 75 offensive snaps per game has long been forgotten but the offensive efficiency remains high. Even though the Packers only scored 24 points on Sunday – a far cry from the 50-plus the previous two games – they overcame a slow start to score two touchdowns and a field goal in a span of four possessions from the middle of the second quarter through the middle of the fourth.

"I just think we got to pick up where we left off (before Rodgers' injury)," McCarthy said of this year's offense. "It's a veteran group that does a great job. They're clearly understanding how to game plan and how to operate on Sundays."

Defensively, the Packers certainly weren't gashed by the Vikings, whose running backs had a long run of 10 yards and whose receivers posted only two receptions of 20-plus.

But defensive coordinator Dom Capers would like to have seen his players take advantage of more of Vikings rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater's errant passes. Micah Hyde had the defense's only interception.

"We had three or four more opportunities when we could have gotten takeaways, ones we've gotten over the last couple games," Capers said. "We've got to find a way when we get our hands on balls to convert them."

The defense also wasn't able to close out the game with a 24-13 lead in the fourth quarter. On the Vikings' long TD drive late, Minnesota faced a key third-and-4 from the Green Bay 27, but the Packers jump offside and gave away a big first down.

Getting the stop and holding the Vikings to a field goal there would have made Capers feel a whole lot better about his unit heading into a showdown with Tom Brady and the Patriots.

"You'd like to be able to finish off a game because we had some real good things going, but we didn't get that done," Capers said. "We have to go to work on that. We know with the team we have coming in this week we'll have to be more efficient in those areas."


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