James Starks Revives the Packers Running Game

James Starks

Green Bay Packers Rookie James Starks, who missed his senior year at Buffalo with a shoulder injury — as well as the first nine weeks of the 2010 season — seemed to have become just an afterthought in the eyes of the NFL… But Starks, who carried the ball a mere 29 times for 101 yards in three games after being activated by Green Bay in November, was the unexpected hero in Sunday’s Packers victory over the Eagles.

James Starks

Green Bay Packers Rookie, James Starks

Starks was pivotal on the game’s first scoring drive, breaking off a 27-yard run on the first play of Green Bay’s second series en route to producing 45 yards on six touches on the possession which ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to backup tight end Tom Crabtree with eight seconds remaining in the first quarter.  When the dust settled, Starks carried the ball 23 times for 123 yards while adding two receptions for nine yards to lead the Packers to a 21-16 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs.

On another note, Aaron Rodgers looked cool and calm, deftly avoiding pressure and accurately finding his targets down the field. Rodgers was 13 of 18 for 111 yards in the first half and threw short touchdown passes to tight end Tom Crabtree and receiver James Jones to open up a 14-0 lead with 5:21 left in the first half.  But that was just the beginning.  A perfectly executed screen pass to running back Brandon Jackson put the Packers up 21-10 with 7:33 left in the third quarter.  The rest is history and the Packers are off to Atlanta to face the Falcons!  At this point the question remains relevant: With the Green Bay Packers be bringing the Super Bowl XLV trophy home.

Here is the schedule for next weekend’s playoff games:

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

Saturday, Jan. 15
AFC: 3:30 PM (CT)     Baltimore at Pittsburgh (CBS-TV)
NFC: 7:00 PM (CT)     Green Bay at Atlanta (FOX-TV)

Sunday, Jan. 16
NFC: 12:00 PM (CT)     Seattle at Chicago (FOX-TV)
AFC: 3:30 PM (CT)     New York Jets at New England (CBS-TV)

The AFC (CBS, 5:30 p.m. CT) and NFC (FOX, 2 p.m. CT) Championship Games will be played on Sunday, Jan. 23.

The 2011 Pro Bowl (FOX, 6 p.m. CT) will be played on Sunday, Jan. 30 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, one week before Super Bowl XLV takes place at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, Feb. 6 (FOX, 5:30 PM CT).

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