GREEN BAY, Wis. – With his offense mired by inconsistency this season, Packers coach Mike McCarthy decided to make a change this week: He is calling the plays again. The early results were promising for NFC North-leading 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 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Green Bay (9-4) has a one-game lead over the Vikings after its second consecutive 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.
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 longtime assistant.
"But professionally it was what I felt I needed to do," McCarthy said.
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," 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, handing the Cowboys (4-9) a setback to their chances of winning the mediocre NFC East, which has no teams at .500 or better.
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. With the score 14-7, Green Bay then went on a 12-play, 84-yard drive in the fourth quarter 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.