Jackson Boosts Packers Running Game
Next game: NFC Semifinal
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Ryan Grant didn't finish the regular season with 1,000 yards rushing, but the Green Bay Packers' injured running back took comfort in what his understudy accomplished Sunday.
Rookie Brandon Jackson, who started the season as the team's top back, returned to a leading role in what turned out to be a big running day by Green Bay in its 34-13 win over Detroit on Sunday.
Jackson had his first 100-yard game as a pro after Grant left with the game with an injury in the first quarter, gaining 113 yards on 20 carries.
"Oh, this is great for Brandon," Grant said. "I (told him), 'You're going to get a hundred. You're going to get the opportunity and take advantage of it."'
It was Jackson's first chance to have a primary role in the offense since a shin injury cost him the starting job after the first three games.
Grant suffered a shoulder stinger with about six minutes left in the first quarter. On a day when coach Mike McCarthy held out some notable veterans from a mostly insignificant game for the Packers, he didn't put Grant back in.
Grant said he was OK to play again but stopped short of pleading his case to McCarthy, even though the first-year back was closing in on the 1,000-yard benchmark.
"I don't have to go directly to Coach," Grant said. "The word kind of got passed down, 'Sit down!"'
NOTES: Green Bay didn't come out of the game as healthy as it would have liked with the players who were active on Sunday. Besides Grant, offensive guards Jason Spitz (quadriceps) and Junius Coston (calf) and cornerback Will Blackmon (foot) sustained injuries that kept them from returning to the field. ... McCarthy expressed concern about Coston's injured right calf. "Those always make you nervous," McCarthy said. "That's an injury that will need a number of days to have a better feel for how long he'll be down." ... Blackmon aggravated an injury to his right foot in the second quarter but said he expected to be fine for the playoffs. He missed more than a month earlier this season after fracturing the foot in practice. "I felt a little something, but I came right out," Blackmon said. "So, I'm good. I'm not on crutches or anything." ... Lions offensive tackle Damien Woody will be a free agent after the season. While he wants to return to the team, he said he owes it to his family to explore other options. Woody said he will have to be confident in the front office's ability to put a winning team on the field if he's going to re-sign with the Lions. "All that stuff will factor in," Woody said. "I have a businessman's mentality when it comes to this whole thing. It's something that I have to sit down with my wife and my agent and see what we really want to do. It's more than just football. I have a family and all that will play a role."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)