By Eric Goska
|Vince Lombardi would have approved of Green Bay's|
rushing effort (199 yards) against the Patriots.
Aaron Jones is the Packers’ 6,000-yard man.
Jones, one half of Green Bay’s impressive ground-gaining tandem, led all runners Sunday at Lambeau Field. In surpassing 100 yards from scrimmage in the Green and Gold’s 27-24 overtime victory against New England, the elusive back gained entry into a highly select group.
Jones, and running mate AJ Dillon, again powered the Pack on the ground. The two hewed out 183 of the team’s 199 rushing yards with Jones earning 110 on 16 totes.
As usual, Jones also chipped in on the receiving front. He picked up five yards on three catches.
Against the Patriots, Jones secured seven of Green Bay’s 10 rushing first downs. He popped off five runs of 10 or more yards.
Never was he more vital than on fourth down early in the third quarter. With his team trailing by three and needing a yard at the New England 28, Jones scooted for 17.
That effort was a key component in a 10-play, 81-yard advance that put Green Bay up 14-10. It also helped fuel an uptick in yards – 238 in the third and fourth quarters following a meager 125 in the first half – that kept the Packers plugging away until Mason Crosby’s 31-yard field goal sealed the deal with no time remaining.
In amassing 115 yards from scrimmage, Jones surpassed 6,000 in his career. He joins Ahman Green, Jim Taylor, Gerry Ellis, John Brockington and Dorsey Levens as the only running backs in team history to accomplish that feat.
And, with 73 just games under his belt, he got there quicker than all but Green (51) and Taylor (73).
When Jones reaches 100, the Packers usually win. He’s done it 23 times in the regular season, and Green Bay has lost just twice – against the Saints in 2017 and at Seattle in 2018.
In fact, the team has won its last 19 straight when Jones breaks that grass ceiling.
This season, yards have come in chunks for Jones. Twelve of his 48 carries (for 327 yards) have stretched for 10 or more.
As such, his average per carry (6.81) is higher than it has ever been after four games. It ranks third best in the league behind that of the Lions’ D’Andre Swift (8.56) and Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson (8.54).
In general, this part of Jones’ game (average per carry) has registered large throughout much of his career. It has been said – in this column if nowhere else – that No. 33 can spot daylight in a solar eclipse.
That has helped propel Jones into fourth place on the Packers’ all-time rushing list. He trails Green (8,322), Taylor (8,207) and Brockington (5,024).
But those three backs carried far more often than he. Looking solely at average per carry, Jones’ number (5.16) is tops in team history (minimum 500 attempts), more than a half yard better than second-place Ellis (4.58).
Moreover, that robust average ranks among the best all-time regardless of team. His output against the Patriots moved him past Mercury Morris and into seventh place in league history (minimum 750 attempts) according to Pro Football Reference.
In the last 100 years, just six players did more with the opportunities afforded them than Jones. For now, at least, he is ensconced behind Michael Vick (7.00), Randall Cunningham (6.36), Russell Wilson (5.51), Jamaal Charles (5.38), Nick Chubb (5.32) and the immortal Jim Brown (5.22).
That’s some pretty heady company. The Packers can only hope Jones continues to run with that fast crowd.
The six RBs in Packers history who gained 6,000 or more yards from scrimmage in the regular-season.