Aaron Jones is amazing, he needs 40 carries a game, McCarthy needs to…
This is the Green Bay Packers and we don’t win by feeding a running back. We don’t with a suffocating defense. We win by passing up and down the field to outscore our opponents.
It’s who we are.
We don’t need to run, or at least not as much as you think.
Well I’m glad you asked.
I got to thinking about this when I saw this really interesting stat on Twitter from @gzil:
From the start of the 2016 season, the Packers have run the ball more than they passed in only 3 games with Aaron Rodgers:
• 2016 Week 3 vs. Lions, W 34-27
• 2016 Week 14 vs. Seahawks, W 38-10
• 2017 Week 5 at Cowboys, W 35-31 pic.twitter.com/JOmd9zl04s
— Gary Zilavy (@gzil) October 25, 2018
Oh wow, the Packers win every time they rush more than they pass! Cool, let’s just run the ball every time, right? Guaranteed winz!
Like many stats, this one is misleading. Sure, at first glance, it looks like running the ball (imposing will and clock control and all that stuff – which I do believe in, by the way) is what led to those victories.
But let’s dig a little deeper into those games and see if that was actually the case (spoiler alert: it’s not).
Packers Lions Week 2 of 2016
Even with 3 Aaron Rodgers kneel downs to end the game, the Packers still only had the same number of rushing attempts as passing attempts, not more.
The Packers started the game with 18 passes and 8 rushes that led to 4 TD passes and a 31-3 lead in the first half. They spent the second half trying to run out the clock, which led to the appearance of a balanced attack in the box score, but they scored a combined total of 3 points while straying from their strength. Meanwhile, the Lions put up 24 and cut it to a one touchdown game in the fourth quarter while the Packers tried futilely to run the ball.
Packers Seahawks Week 14 of 2016
This was Game Two of Run The Table – think back, did they run the table by running the ball?
Well, at the end of the game, they had more runs than passes, but let’s look a little deeper.
The game started with a 9 yard pass, they they got stuffed for no gain while trying to run for it on 2nd and 1.
A 66 yard touchdown pas to Davante Adams. Passing, b!tches!
On the second drive, they ran for 30 yards. Then on first down, Rodgers drew the defense offsides, bringing up 1st and 5. You know what the Packers did? They ran 3 times for a total of 0 yards and settled for a field goal attempt on 3rd and 5, which they missed. A fat lot of good rushing did!
They punted on the next drive and after they got the ball back Rodgers threw a couple passes to get them to the 1, where Ty Montgomery ran it in. The next drive was pass-run-pass-pass-pass-touchdown because Aaron Rodgers scores!
After the half, a 6 pass, 1 rush drive gave them another passing touchdown for a 28-3 lead. They Packers tried running out the clock for the rest of the game, but it was futile. Even though they had more rushing attempts, they went nowhere.
Final tally was 30 rushes for 93 yards. Does that sound dominant? Is that what you want more of? What if I told you 19 of those 93 yards (over 20% of their rushing yards) came on an end around run by Jeff Janis? That’s 74 yards on 29 carries. Puke. Meanwhile, when passing, Rodgers had 18 completions for 249 yards because he’s a f#cking stud! He had a rating of 150.8 and you think this is about running with your b!tch-@ss 2.6 yards per carry?
Packers Cowboys Week 5 2017
Oh yeah, you remember this gem. Let’s look at how it went down.
It started with a 5 pass, 3 run drive that ended in a touchdown pass.
Later, an 8 pass, 5 run drive ended with a TD. The first four runs went for 1, 2, 0, and 2 yards before a pass took them inside the 10 where they ran it in from the 7. Win for the run game, I guess?
After the half, they had a balanced drive with 4 rushes and 4 passes to get a field goal – of course they got 24 yards rushing and 47 yards passing to set up the score, which gives me the impression that the pass was more valuable on that scoring drive, too.
Later in the game, they had a 9 pass, 6 run drive that ended with another passing TD to go up 1.
The next score the Packers got was was a pick 6 by Damarious Randall – remember him?
Then the Cowboys went up with 1:18 left. Needing a score to win, and knowing that when they run more than they pass, they always win, the Packers decided to run every single play.
*flips through notes*
Oh wait, that’s not right.
They mixed in 2 rushing attempts while Big Mike called 9 passes, including the game winner from Rodgers to Adams. Passing saves the game again!
Yes, the ground attack had a good game and, by math, they ran more times than they passed, but Aaron Rodgers and the passing game was what made this game a victory.
Here’s the deal: Aaron Jones is good. Really good. Maybe one of the best two or three backs we’ve had since Lombardi.
Aaron Charles Rodgers is possibly the greatest player to ever play the game,
That other Aaron can’t compete with that.
Should Jones get more carries? Probably. But the game shouldn’t come down to that. I don’t care what situational stats or DVOA or advanced analytics nonsense you have to tell you otherwise, if the Packers want to win, they need Aaron Rodgers slinging it.
Why take the ball out of the hands of the best player in the league?
He’s the man.
It’s that simple.