Too little, too late; Dallas comes up short at home vs Green Bay
Written by: Greg Lehr | @greglehr3
Looking at the box score of the Packers' big road victory over the Cowboys, it would appear to have been an explosive, offensive shootout for key playmakers on each team. However, anyone that actually watched the game would tell you that the 34-24 final score was not truly indicative of the game itself. Green Bay (4-1) conducted a thorough beatdown of the Cowboys (3-2) in Dallas, riding the hot hand of Aaron Jones early and often en route to a convincing road win.
Despite Amari Cooper’s career day (11 rec, 226 yds, TD), his drop over the middle of the field on the Cowboys’ opening drive, a potential touchdown-turned-interception, quieted the crowd and gave the Packers early momentum. Jones rushed for two 1st-quarter touchdowns as Green Bay rode his hot start to a 17-0 lead into halftime. Jones then came right back out and rushed for two more in the 3rd-quarter.
At 31-3, this game certainly appeared to be a blowout and essentially a lost cause for the Cowboys. However, if they deserve credit for anything amid their worst performance of the season, it was their fighting spirit in the second half. With just over two minutes left in the 3rd-quarter, Michael Gallup scored a 40-yard touchdown down the right sideline, giving the Cowboys a heartbeat once again.
After a quick Green Bay three-and-out, Prescott led the Cowboys on a 70-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown score on the ground by Ezekiel Elliott, who otherwise was held to just 62 yards on 12 carries for the day. Another punt by the Packers pumped legitimate hope into the Cowboys sideline and stadium, as the offense got the ball back, down 31-17, with ten minutes to go. That hope came and went in the blink of an eye, as Prescott was picked off by Kevin King on the first play from scrimmage in Dallas territory. Prescott’s costly third INT of the day gave way to Mason Crosby’s 38-yard field goal that made it a three-score game once again.
One more long (53-yard) Prescott-Cooper scoring connection brought Dallas within 10 points with just under 8 minutes remaining, but Jones and the Packers offense converted a couple of first downs, taking a valuable four minutes off the clock in the process. The Cowboys were left with 3:45 to score at least a touchdown and a field goal to force overtime. Prescott, who finished with 463 passing yards, marched the Dallas offense down the field quickly, only to have the drive stalled at the Green Bay 10. Dallas had to settle for a field goal attempt and hope to be the first team this season to recover an onside kick to have a chance. After his made 28-yard kick was called off due to a false start penalty by Xavier Su’a-Filo, Brett Maher then missed the ensuing 33-yard FG attempt, a fitting end to the game for a poorly executed effort by the Cowboys.
Player of the Game:
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
The ‘other’ Aaron (Rodgers) had just 238 yards passing, no touchdowns, and no Devante Adams on the outside, yet Green Bay still was in total control of the game and put up 34 points. With no Jamaal Williams to eat into his carries, Jones came out of the gates firing on all cylinders against a top-10 Dallas defense, torching them for a career-high 182 total yards and 4 (!!) rushing touchdowns. Time and time again, Jones impressively broke away from both Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith for chunk yardage, something even Alvin Kamara struggled to do just a week ago. Jones’ big-time performance deserves a ton of credit in propelling the Packers to 4-1.
Complete Stats: 19 car, 107 yds, 5.6 YPC, 4 TD; 7 rec, 75 yds
Play of the Game:
Kevin King 4th-Quarter INT
Cowboys fans are rightfully complaining about no flags for defensive pass interference on King, who was contacting Michael Gallup throughout the entire duration of his 10-yard curl route. However, it still appeared that Dak and Gallup were a hair off on their timing and location, resulting in the King pick that halted all momentum that the Cowboys were brewing. The significance of this play was a game-changer (literally), as Dallas just forced a second Packers punt in a row and had all the momentum, ready to try and make it a one-possession game with about ten minutes to go. King’s interception and return to the Dallas 34-yard line set up the ensuing 38-yard FG by Crosby, giving Green Bay a crucial three-possession lead after Dallas was threatening a historical comeback attempt.
What’s Next: Week 6
Green Bay Packers (4-1) vs Detroit Lions (2-1-1), Monday Night Football
Dallas Cowboys (3-2) @ NY Jets (0-4)