Jclombardi reviews & grades Packers win over Cowboys.
Summary: QB Rodgers ran for one touchdown and passed for one touchdown to help the Packers snap a 2 game losing streak and to beat the Cowboys 17-7. The 3-4 defense had a solid game rising to its potential getting one interception, 2 fumbles, and five sacks to nearly shutout the Cowboys.
1. LB Matthews: “[LT] Flozell is one of those guys you can’t get locked up with. The guy probably outweighs me by 90 pounds. If I get locked up with him, there’s not a lot I can do. So I tried to freeze him, get his feet stopped and get on the edge. It’s all about studying your personnel.”
2. QB Rodgers: ”Because of the multiple defenses they run, we put in more of the package at the line of scrimmage. McCarthy just put in more checks at the line for me to run-to-pass or run right or run left. We did some good things with that.”
Game Ball: 1. CB Woodson 2. QB Rodgers 3. LB Barnett.
Turning Point: The Packers recovered a QB Romo fumble scoring 3 plays later on a 2 yard touchdown pass from QB Rodgers to TE Havner and giving the Packers a 17-0 lead with 10:49 left.
Injury Report: 1. FB Kuhn (broke hand).
Report Card Grades–Good, Bad, & Ugly: LA vs SE.
Pass Offense—B vs B-. After an ugly first half, Rodgers rebounded in the second half leading the team to a 17-0 and putting the game away. QB Rodgers completed 25 of 36 passes for 189 yards, 1 passing touchdown, 1 rushing touchdown, no interceptions, 3 fumbles, 4 sacks, and 91.1 passer rating. WR Driver had 4 receptions for 50, but he dropped a touchdown pass. WR Jennings had 4 receptions for 45 yards. WR Nelson had 4 receptions for 32 yards. TE Lee had 2 receptions for 21 yards. WR Jones had 3 receptions for 17. RB Jackson had 3 receptions for 15 yards. TE Havner had 1 reception for 2 yards and 1 touchdown. Although the problematic line allowed four sacks, the entire offensive line had a good day in the trenches. Dallas did finish with four sacks, but only one can be laid on the line–a second-quarter takedown when Ratliff got an inside push against Wells, forcing QB Aaron Rodgers to step up and run into Ware, who had shed TE Spencer Havner at the far edge. The fourth sack is on Lee, who got walked back by ILB Carpenter. Lee also was called for holding on the play, one of two such flags he drew and both penalties were declined.
Rush Offense—B- vs C+. The Packers had 28 rushes for 105 yards averaging 3.8 yards. RB Grant had 19 carries for 79 yards with a solid 4.2 average.
Pass Defense—A- vs A-. Finally, the 3-4 transition defense played up to its potential causing 1 interception, 5 sacks, and 3 turnovers. Central to the 3-4 defense, LBs Barnett, Hawk, Matthews, and Jones combined for 20 tackles, three sacks, four tackles for a loss, three QB hits and two fumble recoveries. QB Romo only completed 24 of 39 passes for 251 yards, 1 garbage touchdown, 1 interception, and poor 78.0 passer rating. Caper’s 3-4 blitz schemes showed improvement getting five sacks and what Capers’ defense is all about up front–eating up blockers, opening holes for the playmakers, and then making the few big plays when they’re presented. CB Woodson has a stellar performance getting 9 tackles, getting 1 interception in red zone, getting 1 sack, and causing two fumbles. ILB Barnett had 8 tackles and 2 sacks. Rookie OLB Jones had 7 tackles. On the downside, Collins blew zone coverage on WR Williams’ big catch before he fumbled and DB Williams gave up a touchdown to Williams with 38 seconds left to spoil the shut out.
Rush defense—A vs B. The front seven had another stout game against the rush. The Cowboys had 14 carries for only 61 yards averaging 4.4 yards. RB Barber rushed 5 times for 26 yards averaging 5.3 yards.
Special teams—B vs B-. The coverage team had a good day. The return game had an average game. PR Williams did all returns setting up Crosby’s field goal to end the first half with an 18-yard punt return to midfield, but he slipped & fumbled (down by contact) on his next punt return blowing a potential touchdown. K Crosby made one of two long field goals. K Kapinos had 7 punts averaging 43.7 yards but only 35 net yard and a poor hang time.
Coaching—B vs A-. The Packers had superlative game plans in all three phases and for the first time demonstrated some grit and intensity. After a brutal first half, the second half saw big changes. The play calling improved getting the offense rolling with two touchdowns. The solid 3-4 defense nearly got a shutout. In the red zone, they were 2 for 2. In 3rd down efficiency, they were 7 for 15. They had 10 penalties for 100 yards.
Overall Game—B+. In the 2nd half, while the 3-4 defense dominated the Cowboys, the offense got going and put the game away. Overall, the defense had an outstanding game holding the Cowboys to 278 total yards and 3 of 12 in 3rd downs.
CBS Sports Overall Grade Game–A. What a big day by the Packers defense. The Cowboys didn’t get a third-down conversion until the fourth quarter. Charles Woodson really came up big. The offense didn’t do a lot, but it didn’t need to.
Rodgers vs Favre series: week 10. “Silver Fox” Vikings 8-1. Packers 5-4.
Commentary: If the Cowboys got complacent and an inspired Packers team rebounded to play inspired football, the Packers had a chance to win the game. The predictable game scenario became a reality saving the Packers season. Fate and officiating helped the Packers.
Preview: A must win home game against the tough 49ers. Behind the NFC’s four division leaders, four teams including the Packers have 5-4 records fighting for two wild-card playoff spots.