ST. LOUIS—Running back Eddie Lacy brings a power element to the Packers offense, tight end Jermichael Finley is still a tough matchup and kicker Mason Crosby earned a leg up in the kicking competition.
Those were three of the major storylines from Saturday night’s 19-7 preseason victory over the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome.
Lacy was the first individual to jump out, bulling his way through traffic for runs of 7 and 15 yards on his first two carries. He later added an 11-yard burst to finish with eight carries for 40 yards, plus a reception for an additional 11 yards in his first NFL action, helping set up a pair of early field goals.
“We came out being a lot more physical this game,” said Lacy, whose presence was noticeable after he sat out the preseason opener with a hamstring injury. “We didn’t like the way things went last game. We wanted to be different and take a step in the right direction, and we did that tonight.”
Lacy called the effort a “good starting point” for him. He admitted to being nervous at first, but that vanished after the first hit, and he even pulled his famous spin move out a couple of times, showing the quickness he combines with his power.
“I still don’t know how to explain that, I just do it,” he said. “I wanted to pick up the speed of the game before I tried it, without getting hit right when I come out of it. I picked good situations to do it in, and I was able to come out without getting hit hard and finishing positive, falling forward.”
Finley certainly charged ahead, looking in midseason form with four catches for 78 yards in the early going. His biggest play was a 33-yard catch-and-run when he was the hot read against a blitz. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers flipped it to him in a hurry, and Finley was off to the races in the open field.
“Once they blitz, the tight end is pretty hot on that one,” Finley said. “Once they came, me and Rodgers had the chemistry to get it done. It was a good night.”
The only negative was a holding call on Finley that wiped out a third-and-1 conversion by Lacy, forcing the Packers to settle for a field goal. That came moments after a 25-yard grab helped move the offense into scoring range.
“It felt great, but at the end of the day if you don’t put six on the board, it’s not a plus,” Finley said. “When we get in the red zone, we have to convert and make it count.”
Instead, until a fourth-quarter TD pass by fourth QB B.J. Coleman, the conversions were left to the kickers, and Crosby had the better night, going 3-for-3 on field goals while Giorgio Tavecchio was 1-for-2.
With the kickers alternating on each attempt, Crosby was good from 34, 48 and 30 yards, while Tavecchio missed his first try from 49 but came back to make one from 38.
Crosby has recovered from his rough outing in the Family Night scrimmage and smoothed things out amidst a strong challenge from Tavecchio, who hadn’t missed all week until Saturday night.
“I had a good week of work, and it was good to be able to come out and do it in a game,” Crosby said. “I hit my 48-yarder as well as I wanted to.
“I felt my tempo was good tonight, I felt smooth to the ball. I was happy they all went through.”
The only glitch came on the 30-yarder, which was deflected by a Rams defender but didn’t veer off course and managed to flutter through.
At first glance, it appeared there was a protection breakdown on the left side of the Packers line, which would absolve Crosby of responsibility, but he wasn’t entirely sure.
“We’ll have to look at it. I have my head down, focusing on the ball,” he said. “I was surprised. I thought I hit a good ball. I think a guy might have snuck through a little bit and got his hands on it.
“Fortunately they went through. I feel good about that. My job is to make field goals.” Additional coverage - Aug. 17