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HomeSPORTSGame Recap: Cowboys Fall to Packers in OT, 31-28

Game Recap: Cowboys Fall to Packers in OT, 31-28

Has there ever been a bigger Dallas Cowboys nemesis than Aaron Rodgers?

Once again, the Green Bay Packers quarterback proved the villain in leading his team to a come-from-behind, 31-28, overtime victory over the Cowboys, in the process ruining head coach Mike McCarthy’s Green Bay homecoming.

After attempting only six passes in the entire first half, completing four, Rodgers went 10 for 16 over the rest of the game for a total of 224 yards overall, three touchdowns and a 146.7 passer rating. Behind his effort, the Packers scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to tie the game and then secured the outcome with a field goal in the extra frame to get the win.

Of course, the real damage was done on the ground by the Packers. Once again, the Dallas defense struggled to stop an opponent’s running game as Green Bay churned out 207 rushing yards, including 138 and a score by Aaron Jones.

On offense, Dak Prescott had an up and down day, his two interceptions leading to a pair of Packers touchdowns, although his receivers did him no favors on either miscue. He dropped back 48 times on the day – compared to the team running the ball on 31 snaps – and completed just 58.7 percent of his passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns, a 78.6 rating.

Prescott’s primary target on the afternoon was CeeDee Lamb, who posted a career-high 150 receiving yards – the first time a Dallas pass-catcher has topped the century mark this season – while also tying his personal best with two touchdown catches.

When Dallas did run the ball, they were largely successful, finishing with 5.1 yards per carry average and totaling 159 rushing yards in total. With Ezekiel Elliott again sidelined due to injury, Tony Pollard carried the ball a career-high 22 times for 115 rushing yards.

First Quarter

The Packers turned to their ground game early and often, running the ball on 12 of their first 16 plays for 61 yards. But while they racked up the time of possession, holding onto the ball for more than 10 minutes in the first quarter, Green Bay couldn’t come away with any points for its effort.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys only managed three-and-outs on each of their first two series, Prescott completing just three of his first seven passes.

Second Quarter

However, all three of those first-quarter connections for the Dallas quarterback came on the team’s third possession of the game, as the offense started to find a rhythm. And the Cowboys would keep the drive going as the clocked ticked over into the second frame.

In fact, they kept the momentum going all the way to the end zone with an impressive 17-play, 83-yard effort that ate up 8:21 off the clock. Prescott completed all 10 of his pass attempts during the series for 58 yards, connecting with Lamb five times for 40 of those yards. Lamb also got the scoring honors with a lunge across the goal line for the 3-yard touchdown and an early lead.

The Cowboys were on the doorstep just minutes later, though, when on the third snap of the Packers’ next possession, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence strip-sacked Rodgers. That left it to safety Jayron Kearse to fall on the prize and give Dallas the ball at the Green Bay 10-yard line. The forced fumble was the 18th of Lawrence’s career, moving him into third all-time in franchise history.

But then Prescott returned the favor. On third down, he threw into a crowded middle of the end zone, his pass picked off by Packers safety Rudy Ford, who returned the interception out to the Green Bay 33-yard line.

Unfortunately, the Packers took advantage of their gift. Facing a third-and-1 at his own 42-yard line, Rodgers found Christian Watson streaking down the right sideline, the wideout outracing Dallas cornerback Anthony Brown for a 58-yard touchdown to tie the game. Shortly thereafter, Brown would head to the locker room with a concussion, done for the day.

And then disaster struck again. The Cowboys had worked their way out to midfield when a miscommunication between Prescott and Lamb resulted in another easy interception for Ford. This time he returned the pick 34 yards to the Dallas 24-yard line, giving the home side great field position with just over two minutes remaining in the half.

Which was plenty of time for the Packers to take advantage of another Cowboys turnover. The running back Jones provided the points, darting up the middle and then racing to the left pylon for the touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

But the half wasn’t over just yet. With Prescott and the Cowboys offense getting started at their own 34-yard line with 1:37 left on the clock, the quarterback completed 6 of 7 pass attempts for 55 yards. The last of those was a 5-yard completion to Dalton Schultz to tie the game heading into the break.

Third Quarter

Turnovers continued to be a big story of the game, but this time it was the Cowboys who came out on the positive end. Punting deep in his own territory Bryan Anger boomed a 55-yarder that then saw three Dallas defenders converge on the Packers return man, forcing a fumble. In came Sean McKeon to pounce on the ball to set the Cowboys up at the Green Bay 45-yard line.

Two snaps later, Prescott threw a perfect pass to Lamb for a 30-yard gain, which was then followed two more snaps later by Pollard scampering up the middle 13 yards for the touchdown and the lead.

With the momentum now firmly behind them, the Cowboys made it 21 unanswered points with a seven play, 86-yard drive for yet another score. Malik Davis came in at running back to give Pollard a breather and immediately made the most of his opportunity, carrying the ball three times for 36 yards. But it was a Prescott-to-Lamb 35-yard connection that brought the team’s fourth touchdown of the night.

Fourth Quarter

Playing in front of a cold but raucous home crowd, the Packers obviously weren’t going to go away quietly. Especially with Rodgers behind center. The quarterback came right back and orchestrated a nine-play, 76-yard drive to make it a one-score game. Rodgers converted a third-and-3 with a 7-yard scramble and then capped off the series with another big touchdown completion to Watson, this time for 39 yards.

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But the Rodgers-to-Watson combo wasn’t done yet. The pair teamed up for another touchdown just minutes later, this time the score coming thanks to a 7-yard pass that wrapped up a 10-play, 89-yard possession. The accolades may have fell to Rodgers and Watson, but it was the ground attack that chewed up the yardage. Green Bay running backs Jones and AJ Dillon combined for 54 yards off six carries.

Both sides got another chance with the ball in the final two minutes, but neither team could get anywhere, Dallas heading to overtime for the first time this season.

Overtime

The Cowboys won the coin toss and didn’t waste time, working their way across midfield to the Packers’ 35-yard line. But instead of kicking a lengthy field goal on fourth-and-3, they decided to go for it instead, Prescott’s pass attempt under heavy pressure falling incomplete.

And then Rodgers did what Rodgers do, finding wideout Allen Lazard on a slant over the middle, the receiver splitting the defense for a 36-yard gain to the Dallas 20-yard line. A pair of snaps to set up the field goal and out came Mason Crosby, his chip-shot 28-yard attempt splitting the uprights to give the Packers the win.

With the loss, the Cowboys fell to 6-3 on the season and dropped back into third place in the tough NFC East with a trip to the 8-1 Minnesota Vikings up next on the schedule.

 

Zeke ‘Frustrated’ by Loss to GB, Eyeing Vikings

GREEN BAY, WI – The decision on whether or not to play Ezekiel Elliott against the Green Bay Packers went to the wire, but it was decided by the Dallas Cowboys that they’d keep their two-time NFL rushing champ on the sideline at least one more week as he recovers from a knee sprain.

In his absence, the bulk of the work was again shoveled upon Tony Pollard, who played well en route to 115 rushing yards on 22 carries and a rushing touchdown, but the Cowboys inability to pound the Packers into submission with a 14-point lead begs the question of if they might’ve been able to have Elliott been on the field.

Following the 31-28 overtime loss to the Packers, Elliott explained the decision.

“I got in and got reps in practice last week, on Wednesday and Thursday, I had some solid days,” said Elliott. “But I wasn’t all the way confident in [the knee].”

It wasn’t easy watching his offense melt on the back end of the game, however, knowing there was nothing he could do to change it from the sideline.

“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s tough to not be able to close that game out. You just gotta be able to learn from the mistakes and get back to it.”

Elliott is known to be the “sledgehammer” for the Cowboys and, as such, it’s possible his presence in the four-minute drill would’ve been felt in a major way.

The team attempted to utilize Malik Davis in the role, and it was nearly effective, but a holding call against Connor McGovern deleted a 20-plus yard run that helped torpedo that attempt.

Looking forward, with the red-hot Minnesota Vikings on the GPS for next week, Elliott could certainly come in handy.

“I’m gonna do everything I can to get ready,” he said. “… Super disappointed [in the loss to the Packers]. Would’ve loved to get coach a win here. … We would’ve loved to get him a win tonight.

“We just gotta get back to the drawing board and figure out the Vikings.”

 

The Good, Bad And Ugly From The Green Bay Packers’ Win Over The Dallas Cowboys

Mike McCarthy slammed his headset in disgust on the grass inside Lambeau Field.

Aaron Rodgers jumped as high as a 38-year-old can, pumped his fist and flexed.

McCarthy’s return to Green Bay had been spoiled. The Packers’ losing streak was over.

Kicker Mason Crosby drilled a 28-yard field goal with 3:06 left in overtime Sunday, lifting the Packers to an improbable 31-28 win.

Green Bay improved to 4-6, ended its first five-game losing streak since 2008 and saved its season for the time being. Dallas, which let a 14-point second half lead slip away, fell to 6-3.

“I care about these guys, and, you know … we put a lot into this,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said while getting emotional after the win. “And it is tough at times. And … I apologize. But … it means a lot to us. And to be down and fight and continue to fight, that’s what you want to see.”

Dallas, on the other hand, was extremely disappointed it couldn’t make McCarthy’s Homecoming a happy one.

“I mean, obviously, we wanted to get it for Mike (McCarthy), and it sucks, we didn’t,” Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott said. “That’s that. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. There’s nothing else to add on. We wanted to get it for Mike.”

Here’s the good, bad and ugly from Green Bay’s win over the Dallas.

THE GOOD
CHRISTIAN WATSON: The Packers’ rookie second round pick has been a major disappointment most of his first season, struggling with injuries and drops.

Watson missed much of training camp after undergoing knee surgery. He’s missed three games with a hamstring injury — and was knocked out of the last two games with a concussion and a chest injury.

Watson entered Sunday’s game with just 10 catches, but had his coming out party against the Cowboys. Watson scored the first three touchdowns of his career and gave the Packers’ passing game some life for the first time in 2022.

He finished with four receptions for 107 yards and became the first Green Bay rookie wideout to have 100-plus receiving yards and three TDs since James Lofton on Sept. 10, 1978. Watson also joined Lofton, Billy Howton (Nov. 27, 1952) and Max McGee (Oct. 30, 1954) as the only rookies in team history with three touchdown receptions in a single game.

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“That boy is a star today,” Green Bay running back Aaron Jones said of Watson. “Nah, he always is. But I’m just happy for him, to get him back on the field, he’s back healthy, just showing what he can do, and I think he’s going to just continue to grow. That’s what’s shown from camp to now, just the growth. I think that was big for him.”

Watson beat single coverage and hauled in a 58-yard TD pass from Aaron Rodgers with 4:54 left in the second quarter that tied the game, 7-7. Early in the fourth quarter, Watson got loose and caught a 39-yard TD from Rodgers that pulled the Packers within 28-21.

And Watson ran a crossing route with 2 ½ minutes left and nabbed a 9-yard TD from Rodgers that tied the game, 28-28.

“Just super proud of him,” LaFleur said. “He is such a conscientious guy. Very mature for a rookie. It means a lot to him, it does, and you can see it on a daily basis, the way he approaches his work. It was just cool to see him bounce back in that moment.”

Watson had a couple of early drops that proved costly. But he more than redeemed himself with three touchdowns that kept Green Bay in the game.

After being invisible for months, Watson showed why Green Bay traded up into the second round and used the 34th overall pick in April’s draft on the wideout from North Dakota State.

“I think regardless of the draft spot, it’s just gratifying to be able to have a role and to be able to contribute to this team,” Watson said. “Obviously, the draft stuff always ends once we’re into training camp and getting through training camp. It doesn’t matter where you’re drafted, what spot.

“When you get the opportunity you’ve got to make the most of the opportunity. But I mean, l regardless of the draft spot, it’s gratifying to me just because I was able to go out there and show who I am. I think we were able to show who we are.”

RUDY FORD: Ford entered the day having played just 12.48% of the defensive snaps this season. But with cornerback Eric Stokes on injured reserve, Ford moved into the starting lineup and shined.

The Packers moved slot man Rasul Douglas to cornerback, safety Darnell Savage into the slot and Ford to safety. Ford proceeded to have the biggest game of his career with a pair of interceptions that led to 14 points.

With Dallas leading, 7-0, midway through the second quarter and facing a third-and-goal from Green Bay’s 11, Ford intercepted Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott and returned it 34 yards.

The Cowboys were in scoring range at the time and about to take a two-score lead. But Ford’s huge play changed that — and momentum of the game.

Just three plays later, Aaron Rodgers hit Christian Watson for a 58-yard touchdown that tied the game, 7-7.

Then with 2:30 left in the half, Ford intercepted Prescott a second time and returned it 34 yards to the Cowboys 24. Three plays later, Aaron Jones had a 12-yard touchdown run to give Green Bay a 14-7 lead.

Ford became the first Packer since Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on Dec. 18, 2016, with interceptions on back-to-back possessions.

“That’s a guy, he’s a pro, he comes to work every day, he pays attention in the meetings, he asks questions,” Savage said of Ford. “There’s a guy that really wants to … since he’s gotten here, he’s really wanted to do nothing but just gain our trust.”

He did just that on Sunday.

RUN GAME: Green Bay ran for 207 yards on 39 carries — an impressive 5.3 yards per attempt. The Packers set the tone early with 13 rushes for 65 yards in the first quarter (5.0) and pounded away throughout the day.

Aaron Jones was brilliant, with 24 carries for 138 yards (5.8 average) and a touchdown. That was the third time this season that Jones exceeded 130 rushing yards, which is tied for first in the league.

A.J. Dillon added 65 yards on 13 carries (5.0).

The Packers finished with nearly twice as many run plays as passes (20). And by controlling things on the ground, Green Bay finished with a 5-minute advantage in time of possession.

“I just think the biggest thing is they played small ball,” McCarthy said. “They attacked us in the run game and had success, had over 200 yards rushing. That is the calling card against us. We knew coming in that they had two backs that were going to run against us. We have to be better there and we will continue to work on it.”

RODGERS SHINES: Rodgers was off to arguably the worst start of his career and was coming off one of his poorest performances ever last week in Detroit.

But Rodgers looked more like the player that won MVPs in 2020 and 2021 than the guy struggling midway through the year. Rodgers completed 14-of-20 passes for 224 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and had a passer rating of 146.7.

“I think a lot of the battles that we face are between I and I, between the person that can go out there and dominate and knows that they can and the little voice in your head that tries to knock you out of that confident perch around you,” Rodgers said. “I’m happy that I knocked that voice back into hell and had a good performance today.”

WELCOME BACK: The Packers paid their respects to Mike McCarthy before the game, putting a picture of their former head coach on the JumboTron next to the heading, ‘Welcome Back.’

McCarthy led the Packers to a Super Bowl championship in the 2010 season. And McCarthy, who coached in Green Bay from 2006-18, was the second-longest tenured coach in team history behind only Earl “Curly” Lambeau (1921-’49).

But McCarthy wasn’t the only former Packer coach or player now working in Dallas that was recognized before the game.

The others included offensive line coach Joe Philbin, coaching assistant Scott Tolzien, defensive backs coach Al Harris, assistant special teams coach Rayna Stewart, assistant head coach Rob Davis, linebackers coach Scott McCurley, defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr., assistant offensive line coach Jeff Blasko and quality control coach Ryan Feder.

THIS AND THAT: Green Bay, which was averaging just 17.1 points per game in 2022, notched a season-high point total. … Isaiah McDuffie, filling in for the injured De’Vondre Campbell, had a team-high 13 tackles. … Allen Lazard had a 36-yard catch in overtime that set up Crosby’s game-winning kick.

THE BAD
COVER THAT MAN: Green Bay had no answers for Dallas wideout CeeDee Lamb.

Lamb finished with 11 receptions for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That marked the first time this season Lamb hit the 100-yard mark in a game.

Lamb had a three-yard TD reception in the second quarter that gave Dallas a 7-0 lead. Then late in the third quarter, Lamb whipped cornerback Jaire Alexander for a 35-yard TD that put the Cowboys ahead, 28-14.

Lamb is one of the more dangerous wideouts in the league, but the Cowboys’ other receivers are somewhat mediocre. So slowing Lamb should have been the Packers’ top priority, and they failed to do just that.

TURNOVER WOES: Green Bay had just 13 turnovers the entire 2021 season. They already have 15 in 2022.

Midway through the second quarter Rodgers was sacked by DeMarcus Lawrence and Jayron Kearse recovered. That was the third time Rodgers fumbled this season and the Packers have lost all three.

Then in the third quarter, return man Amari Rodgers fumbled and lost a punt (more on that below).

The 2022 Packers have little room for error, and the turnovers have proven extremely costly.

THIS AND THAT: Safety Johnathan Abram, a player Green Bay signed this week, was called for holding on a second quarter kickoff. That penalty forced the Packers to start a drive at their own 10-yard line. … Dallas running back Tony Pollard had 115 rushing yards and the Cowboys piled up 159 rushing yards as a team. Green Bay entered the day 26th in rushing defense and certainly won’t be moving up the charts after another rough game against the run.

THE UGLY
AMARI RODGERS: Green Bay’s second-year wide receiver has been one of the Packers’ most disappointing third round draft picks in recent memory. Rodgers has just eight career catches and lost his job as Green Bay’s kick returner earlier this year. But the Packers have continued to trot Rodgers out on punt returns, even though he entered the game averaging just 7.0 yards per return and has struggled mightily with ball security.

Green Bay’s loyalty to Rodgers proved costly — again — on Sunday.

Midway through the third quarter, Rodgers fumbled a punt for the fifth time this season and Dallas’ Sean McKeon recovered at the Packers’ 45. Four plays later, Tony Pollard shot up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown run that gave Dallas a 21-14 lead.

Keisean Nixon replaced Rodgers on punt returns for the rest of the game. By then, though, the damage was done.

“It sucks for Amari,” LaFleur said. “I feel for him, obviously, because he’s a guy that works his butt off on a daily basis and I know he wants to go out there and excel and that was a tough break.

“Obviously it was a critical turnover that we can’t have, that’s something we talk about all the time. Obviously, the ball is everything, and when you have it in your hands, you hold it for everybody in this organization.

“And we can’t put it on the ground, especially when we’re in a situation in a tight ball game, going to get the ball at midfield, I thought he had a decent return, and we coughed it up. We can’t do that.”

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