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Here Are Some Goal-Line Stats to Ponder

Eddie Lacy

We hear everyone is pretty riled up that the Seattle Seahawks didn’t hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch and instead tried to throw a slant when they were on the Patriots’ 1 in the closing seconds of the Super Bowl.

You’ve probably heard this — that play failed. It was picked off by New England’s Malcolm Butler and good for everyone involved. Naturally, the second-guessers want to know, “WHY DIDN’T YOU RUN THE BALL!?!”

Well, we don’t care why Pete Carroll didn’t run the ball. We pretty much blasted Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy for not running the ball in that same situation all year.

So, if this conversation were about McCarthy and the Packers, yes, we’d be incredulous. However, we give zero shits about the Seattle Seahawks, so we could care less if they ran or passed in that situation.

Anyway, we promised you stats and we’re going to give you stats.

That handsome devil Rob Demovsky dug up some stats that illustrate how the Packers operated when they were on the opponent’s 1-yard line this season. If you watched the Packers in 2014, the results won’t surprise you.

First of all, the Packers had 21 such opportunities, including playoffs. They ran on 11 (52.4 percent) and passed on 10 (47.6) of them. About half and half.

You can say what you will about that division of labor, but it really comes down to the next group of statistics — how successful they were. The answer is “not very” in either case.

Five of the 11 runs resulted in touchdowns. Five of the 10 passes resulted in touchdowns.

The obvious breakdown is that if you let Aaron Rodgers throw from the 1, you’re successful 50 percent of the time. That’s not very good, especially considering Rodgers completed 65.6 percent of his passes overall. And with that, you could simply say Rodgers is subpar throwing at the goal line.

The run breakdown is a little more complex since more guys handled the ball. Overall, the Packers cashed in 45.5 percent of the time, which is even worse than when they were passing the ball.

Eddie Lacy carried the ball seven times in these situations and scored four touchdowns, which made him successful 57.1 percent of the time. John Kuhn carried it three times and scored zero. Rodgers took it once and scored once.

There’s one obvious answer here — stop handing the damn ball to Kuhn at the goal line.

Maybe give it to Rodgers every time? We wouldn’t recommend that either. Rodgers was successful in week 17 against the Lions, but if you’ve seen him attempt sneaks in the past, you know it’s not pretty. That is seriously one aspect of his game that is not anywhere near top-notch.

That leaves Lacy as the Packers’ best option, unless they start experimenting with different kinds of runners, like James Starks or DuJuan Harris. Harris’ diminutive (5-8), but stout frame and low center of gravity probably make him perfect for such opportunities. He’d have to work his way off the bench first though.

That bigger issue that this illustrates is the Packers need to dramatically improve their goal-to-go (and red zone) offense. That should be a priority for 2015.

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Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

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10 Comments

  1. Cheese February 3, 2015

    Exactly! Stop giving the fucking ball to Kuhn. He might have leadership skills, and people like to “OOOO” his last name, but he’s not that spectacular. He’s definitely not the best option on the field.

  2. gman February 3, 2015

    Anyone else think maybe Eddy loses10-15 pounds and is even better( faster) back?

    1. pf4l February 3, 2015

      Good point..Matter of fact, Ahman Green and others have tried to persuade Lacy to drop some pounds. Not sure it’s been effective yet.

  3. Fred February 3, 2015

    No then he loses some of his power if you want him to do that just put starks in

  4. Nacho dan February 3, 2015

    What about when they settled for field goals on the one?

  5. Savage57 February 4, 2015

    Either run or pass, it’s apparent that the issue isn’t the play CALL, it’s the play DESIGN. That’s where MM keeps coming up short.

    There need to be some designed looks installed this year that do a better job, to use baseball parlance, ‘of hitting them where they ain’t’. Need look no further than what BB and JM came up with in the SB.

    Both times in the the 1st GTG situations, the jumbo package comes on the field and MM is standing on the sidelines yelling, “HEY SEATTLE, WE’RE RUNNING IT. TRY AND STOP US!” So the Seahawks go, OK, and they do. This team is not a smash mouth, move the pile team.

    The Packers GTG offense has become defined by two words – predictable and ineffective.

  6. MMTTDCSUCK February 4, 2015

    MM, the most over-rated play caller in the NFL . . . The guy just shits the bed with some of these “packages” that he comes up with. Abysmal.

  7. MMK February 4, 2015

    I wonder why the Packers never even attempt a screen to Cobb, which is typically good for at least 5 yards. I would think he could catch a quick pass and extend his arms for a TD if he had Jordy and a TE pulling over and blocking for him.

    1. MMTTDCSUCK February 4, 2015

      MM needs to step back and truthfully reassess his game management and his play calling. It really screams for truthful analysis. Something has been wrong for years in his game day coaching. Too many “one and done’s” too many “goal line” fails. Yes, some are in execution, but most are in the vein of “way too predictable”. Changes need to be made in Green Bay. This epic fail falls on everyone, which begs to say it starts from the coaching out. It is SYSTEMIC in nature. Way too obvious.

  8. Howard February 4, 2015

    Even though the Pack should not be average with Rodgers and Lacy, the stats listed are consistent with NFL averages since 2000 with one exception. Most teams run approx. 74% of the time. The success rate of runs is approx. 54 %. The success rate for pass is approx. 48%. So in fact Rodgers and Lacy are successful at a higher percentage than the league average in the last 15 years. Kuhn is the weak link. McCarthy or Rodgers either call or check into pass at a substantial higher percentage than league average.