For the second time in just less than nine months, Aaron Rodgers worked his magic tricks, and the Dallas Cowboys fell to the Green Bay Packers by the score of 35-31 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington Sunday. Fortunately, this game was not a playoff game, as was the case in early January. Cowboys’ fans will remember then how Rodgers moved his offense down the field and kicked a winning field goal in the playoffs on the last play of the game ending Dallas’ Super Bowl hopes.
This time, he led his team to a game-winning TD with just 11 seconds left on the clock. The drive was 9 plays, 75 yards and took 1:02. The score came on a 12-yard toss to Devonte Adams by Rodgers. The win moves Green Bay to 4-1 on the year, while the loss drops Dallas to 2-3 with their bye week coming up.
Following the disappointing loss, Head Coach Jason Garrett was asked if Dak Prescott should have slid at the 1-yard line rather than scoring a go-ahead touchdown with 1:13 left. He indicated there WERE times when that might be considered, but pointed out that the Green Bay defense was paid to play just like the Dallas offense was, and there were too many variables to consider doing that against the Pack. All the same, everyone in the stadium KNEW what Rodgers was capable of, and feared the worst, and that is exactly what happened.
When Dak Prescott talked with the media after the game, he was asked if he thought about sliding down at the 1 rather than running in for the score. His sentiments were similar to those of Garrett. He said he would NEVER opt to slide when he could get into the end zone. He said he would rather get the score and count on the defense to do their job. Unfortunately, they came nowhere close to doing their job, as Rodgers picked them apart at will on the winning TD drive.
The bottom line is that Dallas has MAJOR problems on defense, their offense is inconsistent at times, and the play calling on both offense and defense is horrid at times. Fortunately, they have two weeks to fix things before heading to San Francisco to face the winless Forty-Niners on Sunday, October 22nd. Unfortunately, the problems they have will not be easy to fix. As early in the year as it is, the game will almost be a must win game IF they want to have any chance to make the playoffs in 2017.
Just as was the case a week earlier at AT & T Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams, the offense started off on fire, and built up a 21-6 lead before the Packers came storming back.
Dallas received the opening kickoff and went on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ate up 6:36. The drive culminated with a 2-yard toss from Prescott to Cole Beasley with 8:24 left in the first quarter. Dan Bailey added the PAT, and the Cowboys were up 7-0. Key play in the drive was a 49-yard strike from Prescott to Brice Butler
Rodgers brought the Pack back to within 1 at 7-6 when he hit Adams from 10 yards out with 4:01 left in the opening frame. Mason Crosby’s extra point attempt hit the right upright and bounced backwards to the ground and was no good. The drive was 8 plays, 75 yards, and took 4:23.
The Cowboys took extended the lead to 14-6 when Prescott found Beasley again, this time from 5 yards out with 13:37 left in the half. Bailey successfully added the extra point. The drive was 11 plays, 75 yards, and 5:24.
The ‘Boys added another score when Prescott found Dez Bryant from the Packer 10 with 6:10 left in the first half. Bailey was true again on the point after, and Dallas seemed in control with a 21-6 lead. The drive was 10 plays, 57 yards and took 5:56 off the second quarter clock.
Rodgers carved up the Dallas “D” like a Thanksgiving turkey on the next drive, as the Packers went on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that took 5:16. The score came on a 7-yard run by Aaron Jones with just 54 seconds left tile halftime. Crosby’s PAT attempt was wide left, but the visitors were within nine points, as the Dallas lead was trimmed to 21-12.
The Packers took little time in getting on the scoreboard again with their opening possession of the second half. They went on a 9-play, 71-yard drive that took 3:51 off the clock, and ended with a Crosby 22-yard field goal with 11:09 left in the quarter. That pulled Green Bay closer, as the score moved to 21-15.
The Pack added another score, and took the lead for the first time, on the first play of the final quarter when Rodgers tossed a 10-yard TD pass to Jordy Nelson at the end of a 14-play, 88-yard drive that took 7:43 off the fourth quarter. Crosby hit the extra point, and Green Bay led 22-21.
On their ensuing possession, Prescott led the Dallas offense on an 8-play, 50-yard drive that took 3:09 and culminated with a 43-yard field goal by Bailey, giving Dallas the lead back, 24-22 with 11:45 left in the game.
After forcing a Green Bay punt on their next possession, Dallas got the ball back, and then tragedy struck a lethal blow. Terrence Williams had a Prescott pass go right through his hands into the hands of a waiting Damarius Randall at the Dallas 21. He didn’t stop until he was in the end zone with a pick-6. A 2-point conversion attempt was no good, but the Packers had their biggest lead of the game, 28-24, with 9:56 left in the game.
Prescott then led the offense on what was to be their final TD when he ran into the end zone from 11 yards out with just 1:13 left in the game. The drive was a slow, methodical 17-play, 79-yard march that took 8:43 off the clock. Bailey’s PAT gave the ‘Boys their final lead, 31-28. Then came the Rodgers heroics that sunk the Cowboys’ ship.
Dallas fans are hoping for the best, but there are a ton of things to fix, and unless Garrett gets the ship up righted quickly, it could be a long year. Hopefully, the Cowboys can figure things out and salvage the season!