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Packers Film Study: Running game paves way to win over Bears

Aaron Rodgers may have stolen headlines, but the Green Bay Packers running game played a big factor in Sunday’s win.

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The “I Still Own You” comment from Aaron Rodgers will go down in history, but the real story from Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears was the dominant rushing attack from the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers secured a 24-14 victory last week behind strong performances from both Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. The two running backs averaged more than five yards per carry, while the team as a whole ran for 154 yards on 31 attempts.

It was the fourth consecutive game where the Packers amassed more than 100 rushing yards. While they may not be at the top of the leaderboard in rushing yards per game, the Packers are still running the ball efficiently, with Football Outsiders having them as the seventh-best rushing offense in terms of DVOA.

Having two tremendously talented running backs has helped the Packers, but a big reason the team has been running the ball so well has been the blocking from the team’s offensive linemen, tight ends, and wide receivers.

Sunday’s game featured a number of impressive plays in the running game, and the coach’s film showcased some great reps from a number of different players that helped open rushing lanes. Right tackle Billy Turner was the first player to stand out when dissecting the All-22 film.

Early in Sunday’s game, the Packers were running out of 12 personnel with tight ends on both sides of the line of scrimmage, Allen Lazard was brought in to assist against the run by lining up directly behind Turner.

The play gave Lazard and Marcedes Lewis one-on-one blocking matchups on the right side, while Turner was able to do work on the interior of the defensive line. Turner understood his assignment, attacking the nearest defender and creating a huge pile-up that gave Jones a huge lane to run through.

Turner has quietly been a reliable presence for the Packers on the right side of a banged-up offensive line. He has played all 380 offensive snaps for Green Bay, and Rodgers even started campaigning for him to earn a Pro Bowl selection on this week’s episode of The Pat McAfee Show.

Matt LaFleur’s ability to adapt mid-game was a big reason the running game was able to get going as well. After a number of first-half drives died out due to pressure and ineffective plays out of an empty backfield, the Packers started emphasizing the run game, even finding some success with some neat gap/power run concepts.

One of those concepts resulted in a career-best run from Dillon. With Royce Newman as a pulling guard, he, Josiah Deguara and Marcedes Lewis executed their blocks to perfection to give Dillon a ton of space to work with. A nice cut from Dillon in open space allowed him to take off after beating the safety for a 36-yard gain.

The discipline from Lewis to work all the way to the SAM linebacker and trust that Newman would engage the MIKE makes the play work so well. It’s a credit to both of those players, and the result was a beautifully executed run play.

Lucas Patrick ended up having a great day replacing Josh Myers at center. Myers went down on the opening drive with a knee injury that could cause him to miss a few games, but Patrick has done a solid job replacing him the last two games.

His play of the game came on a combo block that broke off a huge run for Jones. After washing out the defensive lineman, Patrick had a great internal clock to disengage and find the linebacker before driving him into the grass.

Patrick’s reaction says it all about how he felt about the play.

Robert Tonyan has had a brutal season blocking, and there were several instances in Sunday’s game where a play was blown up because of his struggles containing defenders. However, the former Indiana State quarterback can still put up at least one play of film blocking that he can hang his hat on.

With another 12 personnel formation late in the game, Tonyan and Turner provided key blocks to open up the rushing lane. The run concept required Tonyan to get his defender turned in order to open up the lane, and the tight end did exactly that.

Even Randall Cobb got in on the blocking action late. We talked previously in our weekly film study about the effort Green Bay’s wide receivers display when blocking in the run and screen game, and Cobb showed up once again on tape with a nice block to spring Dillon free.

Despite dealing with multiple injuries up front, the Packers continue to win football games by establishing a balanced offensive attack. It’s taken a lot of pressure off of Rodgers, who hasn’t had to play hero ball and only threw for 195 yards on Sunday in what was still a decisive win.

As long as the Packers can keep establishing the run, then the offense shouldn’t have any problem putting up points in 2021.