They ate up veteran big back Cedric Benson in the opening game last season limiting him to 18 yards in nine rushes. On Sunday the San Francisco 49ers' voracious defense did the same thing to rookie big back Eddie Lacy holding him to 41 yards in 14 carries. Watching little back DuJuan Harris hurtling behind blockers and pin-balling forward 11 times for 53 yards in the divisional playoffs was a distant memory for the Green Bay Packers. He's out for the season and his team doesn't have a change-of-pace alternative. It was typical San Francisco-Green Bay football at Candlestick Park with the Packers making little headway on the ground in another bitter defeat against their elite opponent this time by a 34-28 score. "It didn't start very well" right guard T.J. Lang said of a rushing attack that had 12 carries for 27 yards in the first three quarters. "We made some adjustments on the sideline. Tried to hit some quick ones downhill." Coach Mike McCarthy ran Lacy on the first play but the gain was only 1 yard after Lang couldn't get defensive end Ray McDonald blocked. He opened the second series with a run by Lacy off right tackle but center Evan Dietrich-Smith and Lang failed to stop penetration by McDonald and the result was minus-3. McCarthy tried another running play for the third first down in a row. When guard Josh Sitton pulled he missed linebacker NaVorro Bowman who tackled Lacy after a yard. "They were like No. 1 in the league last year (actually No. 4) against the run" Dietrich-Smith said. "They know how to play their defense. They play gap sound." Things went from bad to worse on Lacy's fifth carry. Sandwiched by defensive end Justin Smith and Bowman Lacy fumbled and the 49ers recovered at the Green Bay 14. "He had a horrendous start" McCarthy said. "I pulled him out of the game and I thought he picked it up in the second half." James Starks another big back replaced Lacy and finished out the half. Lacy the second-round draft choice recalled two fumbles from his career at Alabama but said he never had a fumbling problem. "I was fighting for extra yardage" Lacy said. "I should have went down and protected the ball a little more. It's a mistake on my part. I just learned from it." McCarthy reinstated Lacy to start the second half. After carrying four times for 11 yards in the third quarter the entire rushing attack gained renewed vigor in the fourth.
Eddie Lacy doesn't provide any better results for running attack
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Sep 9