Sunday afternoon against the Colts, running back Ryan Grant accomplished two firsts on the season. Not only did he get in the end zone for the first time, but he also posted 100 yards on the ground for the first time in '08.
Grant rushed for 105 yards on 31 carries against Indianapolis, giving him 30-plus carries in back-to-back games after toting the ball 33 times last Sunday in the Packers' 27-17 win at Seattle. During Grant's breakout 2007 season, he never broke the 30-carry plateau in a game.
"It was about time," Grant said. "It was good to get in the end zone and good to get 100 yards. Of course I think everybody knows, me and the coaches, there was definitely yards left out there on the field.
"I'm happy we got that win the way we did. It was great to get that feeling back at Lambeau Field."
Grant, who battled a hamstring injury earlier in the season, didn't waste any time getting on track Sunday, posting his longest run of the game on the very first play from scrimmage when he picked up 14 yards.
Midway through the second quarter and up 10-7, the Packers faced a 4th-and-1 from their own 44-yard line. Head Coach Mike McCarthy made the call to go for it, and Grant picked it up easily with a 7-yard run off right tackle.
"We like the confidence of putting that on the offensive line," center Scott Wells said. "Running the type of play we did was huge, and being able to convert it, really feeds that."
Grant capped the drive off with an 11-yard touchdown run, this time off of left tackle.
"Our line did a great job and those guys up front were mashing them all downfield all day," Grant said. "I felt like I left yards out on the field, but I give them great applause because they did a great job all day."
A byproduct of the Packers' success on the ground was winning the time of possession battle once again. Last week Green Bay held the ball for a season-high 37:26, and against Indianapolis they held a seven-plus minute advantage, even more crucial against the Colts' high-powered offense.
"When you have an offense of that type of caliber and that type of team that can put up points so fast, you want to control the ball," Grant said. "You want to keep our defense and keep their offense off of the field as much as possible.
"I think we played maybe our most complete game so far. We're not there yet. We know we definitely need to get better. I know I need to get better and I need to do more, but it's a great win for us to be able to get right before the bye."
The Packers' ability to jump out to a lead Sunday against the Colts also helped them neutralize one of the top pass-rushing combinations in the league in defensive ends Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney as they didn't allow a sack of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
"Their team is built on scoring a lot of points with their offense," Wells said. "They have a bunch of pass rushers, so they are used to people having to fight from behind. It really lets them cut loose on their pass-rushing ability."
The Packers' offense entered Sunday's game with eight holding penalties on the season, tied for the third most in the NFL. Against the Colts the offense did not get flagged all afternoon.
Even though Wells agreed with Grant that Sunday was the team's most complete effort so far this season and that the running game is improving, he said the line still has goals it is looking to achieve.
"We want to average five yards a carry," Wells said. "I don't think we did that today either. We're getting steps closer to where we want to be. We were much more balanced today than we have been earlier in the year. We're going in the right direction."