James Starks

Starks has fallen off the map.

Running back James Starks burst onto the scene three weeks ago when the Green Bay Packers hosted the San Francisco 49ers, running for 73 yards on 18 carries and seemingly reviving the team’s stagnant running game.

Afterward, coach Mike McCarthy praised Starks’ ability to gain extra yards after contact.

On Sunday, Starks wasn’t even active for the Patriots game.

After averaging 4.1 yards per carry against the 49ers, Starks gained only eight yards on six carries, a 1.3-yard average, against Detroit. Of course, the Packers offensive line had their worst game of the season and no Packers running back fared well.

Starks now has 81 yards on 24 carries for the season, a 3.4-yard average.

On Sunday, the Packers chose to activate Dmitri Nance to go with Brandon Jackson and their three-headed fullback — John Kuhn, Korey Hall and Quinn Johnson.

The move was probably more of a nod to special teams, as Kuhn, Johnson and Hall play on multiple units. However, if the Packers thought Starks could help their running game, they could have deactivated Nance, who has only 63 yards on 27 carries this season.

Fortunately, the Packers didn’t need any help running the ball on Sunday, when they had their best rushing performance of the season. Jackson gained 99 yards on 22 carries and the Packers netted 143 yards on the ground.

Jackson, who has 961 total yards on the season, clearly re-established himself as the Packers top back, on Sunday. Kuhn, who has 245 yards rushing, is clearly the No. 1 option in short yardage.

Starks may need to establish a role for himself on special teams in order to be active on game day from here on out.

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