Aaron Rodgers is no longer undefeated as a starter. But that’s not the point. The Packers were strictly outplayed by the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, losing 27-16.
There is really no one place to stick the blame for this one. The defense did allow Marion Barber to rush for 142 yards on 28 carries. The offense only managed one touchdown that came late in the fourth quarter. Mike McCarthy‘s coaching was not its usual genius self. The blame focuses itself the most on the team missing opportunities. Through the first three quarters of play, the Packers were held to nine points that came on three Mason Crosby field goals. The Packers were down 20-9 going into the fourth quarter. Change at least one of those field goals to touchdowns, and the Pack is only down 20-13, which changes the whole gravity of the game and keeps the Packers within striking distance.
There was not all too much that was wrong with the Packers play on Sunday night. The pass defense, minus Al Harris, Atari Bigby, and with Charles Woodson playing with a broken toe, stymied Tony Romo for most of the game, holding him to 17 completions on 30 attempts for 260 yards. The two blemishes of the pass defense were two Miles Austin catches, one for 52 yards and a touchdown and another for 63 yards. Rodgers was not as efficient as in the past, completing 22 of 39 passes for 290 yards and no interceptions, but his receivers were also kept out of the endzone. He scored on a run late in the game. Greg Jennings continued his great play, snagging eight balls for 115 yards, while veteran Donald Driver had his best game of the season, snaring four passes for 76 yards, including an exciting 50-yarder early in the game.
The rushing game was crap again. No matter what anyone says, the time Ryan Grant missed this offseason and training camp in between his holdout and ensuing hamstring injury, has slowed him early this season. He managed only 54 yards on 13 carries against a stout Cowboys defense. Much of the blame for his low stats falls on the whole offense, as they had to play from behind for much of the game, not allowing him to get into a rhythm.
Numerous people have said that they have a feeling the Cowboys and Packers will meet again soon, as in, in the playoffs, but for the Packers to have the opportunity to compete with the ‘Boys, they need to be healthy. The Packers success this season comes down to the health of the team, especially the secondary. More on that in a later post.