Packers RB Eddie Lacy wants to make up for last time vs. 49ers
BY TOM PELISSERO USA Today January 4, 2014 8:36PM
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (12-4)
AT GREEN BAY PACKERS (8-7-1)
Sunday, 3:40 p.m., Fox, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver.
The line: 49ers by 21/2
Streaking: 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has 10 touchdown passes with one interception during the team’s current six-game winning streak. ... Packers QB Aaron Rodgers passed for 318 yards, two TDs and two interceptions last weekend vs. the Chicago Bears in his first game back from a broken collarbone. He is the first player in NFL history to have a passer rating higher than 100.0 in five consecutive seasons.
More than Rodgers: Packers wideout Randall Cobb returned from a leg injury that had sidelined him since Week 5 and caught two TD passes, including the game winner, against the Bears. He might not be his old self, but his presence should give the 49ers a lot to think about. Cobb caught seven passes for 108 yards and at TD in 34-28 loss in San Francisco in the season opener.
Considering the 49ers have been torched for 740 passing yards over the past two weeks, Rodgers is likely to take a number of shots deep.
Pound the Pack: Green Bay’s depleted defense has been trampled for an average of 160.3 rushing yards and a 5.34 yards a carry in its last six games. If the 49ers are able to get RB Frank Gore and their third-ranked running game going early, it might produce opportunities for Kaepernick to haunt the Packers again.
After rushing for 181 yards in last season’s wild-card win against Green Bay, Kaepernick picked the Packers apart for a career-high 412 passing yards in this season’s opener.
Need to know: Including the playoffs, the 49ers have won the past three meetings, scoring at least 30 points each time. ... The Packers are 3-4 in their last seven postseason games at Lambeau Field. ... Temperatures during the game could drop to minus-20 degrees with a wind chill of minus-35 degrees or colder.
Updated: February 6, 2014 6:28AM
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The first time Eddie Lacy faced the 49ers, he got benched after his first career fumble led to a San Francisco touchdown.
The Packers’ rookie halfback hasn’t fumbled since, and he’ll get a chance in the NFC wild-card playoff game Sunday to show the 49ers how far he has come.
“I think I developed a lot,” Lacy said Friday. “I’m playing a lot faster, a lot calmer. I think I’m a much better player now than I was then.”
A thickly built second-round draft pick out of Alabama, Lacy has run for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns, making him a strong candidate for rookie of the year despite an ankle injury that has bothered him the last month.
He was limited in practice this week but listed as probable on the injury report Friday, along with everyone else on the Packers’ report except linebacker Clay Matthews, who is out with a broken thumb.
“I definitely feel a lot better,” Lacy said.
That’s good news for the Packers, who ranked seventh in rushing at 133.5 yards a game this season — up from 20th in 2012 and their highest ranking since they were third in 2003, with Ahman Green at the top of his game.
“He’s always been a hard runner; he’s just gotten into a groove,” offensive coordinator Tom Clements said of Lacy, who’s listed at 5-11 and 230 pounds.
“It’s unusual for a single tackler to bring him down. He’s always fighting and pushing hard and trying to get extra yards, and that motivates [the offensive linemen] to do what they can to help him get his yards.”
They’ll be going against one of the NFL’s top run defenses on what’s expected to be a frigid afternoon at Lambeau Field.
In the first meeting, the 49ers held Green Bay to 63 yards on 19 carries, including 41 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown for Lacy, who admitted that he was nervous.
“He’s a totally different back; it’s night and day,” wide receiver James Jones said. “Way more comfortable. Way more confident. They’ll have to account for him.”
Despite a projected game-time temperature around zero, Lacy said he’ll stick with his custom of not wearing sleeves. He’s not taking any chances with what that might do to his ball security, given what happened four months ago in San Francisco.