James Starks goes 'Back to the Future' against Washington
John Rehor, Packers contributor
James Starks. Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
CREATED Sep. 17, 2013
James Starks must have borrowed Doc Brown’s time machine and traveled back to 2010 when nobody was watching Sunday during the Packers' 38-20 win over Washington.
The Packers had not had a 100 yard rusher in over two seasons. Not since the likes of - well, James Starks - had there been such a dominant run game from any one individual wearing the green and gold.
When Eddie Lacy went out early in the game, it left the Packers’ running backs somewhere between thin and translucent.
Hoping to carry the load lost by Lacy were rookie Jonathan Franklin, fullback John Kuhn, and Starks - the man nicknamed “Neo” who has battled to stay on the field, as well as the roster, during his tenure in Green Bay.
Mike McCarthy turned to Starks, feeding him the ball early to try and establish the running game that was supposed to feature Lacy.
When he performed well, he kept giving him the ball.
Over and over, wearing down the defense to the tune of 132 yards, a 6.6 YPC average and a touchdown when the day was over.
It was very reminiscent of the playoff game against the Eagles in 2010, when the little-known Starks exploded for 123 yards on 23 carries, paving the way for a Packers’ victory.
He did the exact same thing Sunday, adding a second dimension to an offensive attack which the Redskins could not slow down let alone stop.
One can only wonder exactly how much damage Starks could have done by himself if Aaron Rodgers and the passing attack was not in the zone the entire day.
While Starks was running amuck, Rodgers was on his way to 480 passing yards, tying the team record for most in a single game, and 4 touchdowns.
But it was Starks who set the tone and McCarthy who stuck to the tone.
By not forgetting the running game, and sticking with the hot hand (or feet) in Starks, McCarthy had a two headed offensive attack that simply could not be stopped.
What will be interesting to see in the next week is where this leaves Starks in the pecking order for carries in the Packers backfield.
While all eyes will be on Eddie Lacy to find out if he will be cleared to play due to the concussion he suffered, one can only wonder if Starks has put himself back in competition to be the “number one” back in the Packers’ offense following his performance Sunday.
Whatever happens in the coming weeks regarding the Packers running back situation, it was good to see that for one game, James Starks was able to become “Neo” again.
His travel back to the future yesterday for the type of game most everyone knew he was capable of is why he is still on the roster.