Green Bay Packers: 2013 Week 15 GB at DAL

Meet the Packers' newest fullbacks

December, 16, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- B.J. Raji and Mike Daniels were in their regular defensive meetings last week when a coach pulled them out.

The defensive tackles weren’t sure what was going on until they arrived at a walkthrough for the offense.

That was their first indication that they might be needed to clear the way for a ball-carrier in a short-yardage situation. Sure enough, their numbers were called late in Sunday’s 37-36 victory against the Dallas Cowboys.

With the game on the line, the Packers unveiled their newest offensive look with a pair of 300-pound fullbacks.

Talk about your full-house backfield.

With Raji and Daniels lined up in front him, running back Eddie Lacy jumped over the pile for the 1-yard, go-ahead touchdown with one minute and 31 seconds remaining.

“It was like a five-minute thing,” Raji said of the walk-through session with the offense last week. “At that particular time it came up, myself and Mike and the offensive line -- everybody did their job -- and Lacy wasn’t going to be denied.”

Raji said his responsibility was to get behind right guard T.J. Lang and clear the hole to his right.

“Anybody I see, just move them and push them back,” Raji said.

And Lacy followed him.

“I didn’t want to be stopped, and that’s the only thing that was going through my mind,” said Lacy, who rushed for 141 yards and became the first Packers’ rookie running back to rush for 1,000 yards since John Brockington in 1971.

“Just don’t get stopped, score any way. And ball security, just hold on to the ball if I don’t score, just hold on to the ball for the next play.”

Thanks to Daniels and Raji, a next play wasn’t needed.

Halftime speech has Woodson-like impact

December, 15, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- In this very stadium, Charles Woodson delivered one of the more important halftime speeches in Green Bay Packers' history.

It was Super Bowl XLV, and the Packers' defensive leader was out for the rest of the game with a broken collarbone. He stood in front of his team and told them how much he wanted them to win it before he was moved to tears.

Sunday’s halftime talk, led by defensive tackle Johnny Jolly and backup linebacker Jamari Lattimore, may have rivaled that in importance and impact.

Down 26-3 at halftime, something had to change for the Packers, who would go on to match the largest comeback in team history and pull out an improbable 37-36 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

“Jolly had a lot to say,” Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji. “He was talking about how, ‘Just keep playing, keep fighting.’

“And actually Jamari Lattimore really spoke from the heart, got real emotional. I think the guys really felt them on that.”

Like Woodson was in the Super Bowl, Jolly was sidelined with an injury -- a shoulder that would prevent him from returning in the second half.

“I just came in and told them ‘keep fighting,’” Jolly said. “We took their best shot in the first half, and we knew if we kept fighting and stuck together something would break for us soon. We went out there and fought hard and those guys fought to the end and the results came out and proved we were right. If we stick together like we did, everything will fall in place. A couple of things didn’t go our way in the first half, even in the second half, we kept playing and made things happen. It was good to see the guys fight through it.

“Guys need to hear those things. I’m on the sidelines seeing what’s going on, so they need to hear it. They know I’m right there and I’m going with them. Hearing it from, it gave them a little push, and they went out there and did what they had to do.”

On the other side of the room, the offensive players -- separated from the defense by a wall of lockers -- could hear what was going on.

“We’re more the quiet side, but we definitely could hear what he was saying on the other side,” running back Eddie Lacy said. “And we took what we heard as if he was talking to us even though he was on the other side.”

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he told the team at halftime that this was the most adversity this team had faced and the season was on the line.

“We’re not going to panic,” McCarthy said he told the team. “We’re going to take it one play at a time. This game’s going to come down to the last sequence of plays. You’ve got to believe in that.’

“I addressed the offense, what I felt they needed to do. The defense and special teams, and our players did it. I can’t say how proud I am of our football team, especially our players, because they just stayed after it one play at a time.”

From the first play of the second half, a 60-yard run by Lacy, it was clear those messages had been received.

Rapid Reaction: Green Bay Packers

December, 15, 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas – A few thoughts on the Green Bay Packers37-36 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at AT&T Stadium:

What it means: One of the more unlikely comebacks in franchise history saved the Packers’ season. They scored five touchdowns on their first five second-half possessions to erase a 26-3 halftime deficit. The unlikely victory kept their season alive. At 7-6-1, they trail the first-place Chicago Bears by a half-game with two remaining. The Detroit Lions could move into a tie with the Bears if they beat Baltimore on "Monday Night Football." But make no mistake, with two games remaining, there is still much at stake.

Stock watch: So much for Eddie Lacy’s bum ankle. A week after spraining his right ankle against Atlanta, Lacy looked like his usual self. He ran with power and speed, the latter of which was evident on his 60-yard run on the first play of the second half. Needing 113 yards to reach 1,000 for the season, Lacy hit that mark with a 10-yard gain in the fourth quarter. He finished with 141 yards on 21 carries, including the game-winning 1-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes remaining.

Overturned, twice: The Packers thought they had a game-changing interception with 11:52 left in the fourth quarter when cornerback Tramon Williams appeared to pick off a Tony Romo pass intended for tight end Jason Witten, but replay overturned it. Williams finally got that interception with 1:20 left in the game. That one was initially ruled incomplete, but a booth replay review changed it, icing the game.

Injury updates: The Packers lost defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (shoulder) in the first half and tight end Brandon Bostick (foot) in the second half. Neither returned to the game.

What’s next: The Packers play their final regular-season home game next Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have a 2-1 record against the AFC North, but all three of those games were before Aaron Rodgers got hurt.