Originally created 11/23/05

Rushing woes come back to haunt Pack



GREEN BAY, Wis. - Green Bay's running game went from solid to silent in one game.

The Packers produced their worst rushing output in nearly 40 years in a 20-17 loss to the Vikings on Monday night. Samkon Gado went from NFC Offensive Player of the Week to 7 yards on 10 carries.

Now the Packers are 2-8, and the only way to keep a streak of 13 consecutive non-losing seasons alive will be to win every game left - including two with division-leading Chicago and one with NFC-leading Seattle.

The Packers had every reason to believe their inconsistent running unit had fixed its problems. Gado ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 33-25 victory at Atlanta, and the Packers got third-down back Tony Fisher (ribs), tight end David Martin (groin) and wide receiver Robert Ferguson (knee) back from injuries.

Martin's blocking is a key for the run game, while Ferguson is able to stretch the field. The result?

The Packers ran for 21 yards on 14 carries. The last time Green Bay had fewer yards rushing was 1956 against the Baltimore Colts, when the Packers ran for 20 yards on 18 attempts.

Gado fumbled on his first carry of the second half, his third fumble in two games, though none has been lost.

Meanwhile, Minnesota has won three in a row in the series and twice at Lambeau Field, including in the playoffs. It's the first time Minnesota has swept the season series since 1998.

"I hadn't heard of their running back before last week and I told them at the end of the night that I didn't want to hear about him again," Vikings coach Mike Tice said.

"We did not have any success with anybody running the football," Green Bay coach Mike Sherman said. "Fisher was the back of choice in regards to protection, route running and things of that nature. It's not a knock against Gado, there just weren't a lot of opportunities in there for rushing. But certainly he has to hold onto the football."

Problem is, the Packers have nowhere else to turn.

Najeh Davenport broke his ankle in a 52-3 win against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 9, Ahman Green tore his thigh tendon two weeks later in the first loss to Minnesota.

That leaves only special teams player ReShard Lee as the other possible option - and he fumbled on his second carry of his only start, which paved the way for Gado.