Rushing Success Goes For Naught In Loss

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With 12 games already in the books, it might be a little late for moral victories. However, after a 38-10 loss, the Packers certainly have to build off the bright spots and on Sunday perhaps the biggest positive came in the form of the team's rushing attack.

Entering the contest versus the Jets at Lambeau Field, the Packers had three consecutive games in which Ahman Green and the run game failed to get untracked. Though the Packers picked up the win on the road over the Vikings in Week 10, they only accumulated 47 yards on the ground. Since then, in losses to the Patriots and Seahawks, Green Bay had just 44 and 51 yards rushing, respectively.

Considering that Head Coach Mike McCarthy puts a strong emphasis on establishing the run each week, Sunday's accomplishments running the football are certainly a step in the right direction. On the day, the Packers finished with 149 yards on just 23 carries, good for an average of 6.5 yards per attempt.

Because the Jets defense was playing with a big lead in the second half, one might figure that they would allow the Packers to run the ball as much as they wanted while focusing on stopping Brett Favre and the passing game. That, in turn, would clearly allow Green and company to rack up yards and skew the rushing results, or so it seems.

However, that wasn't exactly the case Sunday as Green had 52 yards rushing in the first half on only five carries, including a 35-yard run to set up a field-goal attempt. Thus, the offensive line did its job when the team was still trying to establish the run. Yet the one regret Green and his blockers had after the game was the fact that they didn't receive a great deal of carries due to the large deficit.

"We didn't get to rush the ball as much as we want," rookie left guard Daryn Colledge said. "When you fall behind that quick you get out of your game plan. We felt like we could have ran the ball most of the night, but unfortunately we didn't get that opportunity."

It's difficult to determine what kind of day it might have been had the Packers been able to utilize the running game more often, but Green was confident things would have gone in his team's favor. He finished with 102 yards on 14 carries.

"Our goal every game is to establish the run," Green said. "Today we did that. We got over 100 yards rushing.

"There weren't that many carries, so if we had the opportunity to run the ball more, there probably would have been a big game for us running the ball. But we still had a big game even though the scoreboard was the way it was. To get back into the game, you have to pass the ball. The guys up front did their job."

{sportsad300}Center Scott Wells wasn't sure why the team had better results rushing versus the Jets compared to the previous three games, but, like Green, he did admit that it would have been great if they would have been able to keep it on the ground a little more.

"We executed better running the football this week," Wells said. "I felt we were moving the ball well running it, we just ran out of time. We got down so much we had to go the air.

"We had to abandon the run game because of how many points we were down by. It's disappointing to get the run game going, then not be able to rely on it because of where we were at in the game."

It also didn't help that right tackle Mark Tauscher missed his third consecutive game with a groin injury, making an inexperienced unit even more youthful. However, all things considered, Green said he's been satisfied with the running room behind an offensive line that has now started three rookies in Colledge, Tony Moll and Jason Spitz.

"I had to get back into the routine of it and getting used to these guys up front," Green said. "They're young guys and showing great effort and great poise for being out there for the first season for a lot of them. I take my hat off to them, they did a good job blocking."

Wells, now in his third season with the team, admitted that despite the rushing success, there was only one statistic that mattered to him and it was winning, something that Green Bay has only done once at Lambeau Field all season.

"Progress is being made but it doesn't matter unless you make progress in the win column," he said. "You have to win games. That's what this business is all about. Nobody gets paid to lose.

"We all have to have some pride. This is a proud organization. We have to find a way to get these wins, especially at home."

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