Damarious Randall pulled through a week of scrutiny, plus a rough start to the game, only to pull the game in the Packers direction. A lot of Packer fans wanted him released as the news slowly leaked from his Chicago benching. Randall had a 21 yard, pick six giving the Packers a 28-24 lead with ten minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The touchdown was followed by a taunting penalty, my least favorite part of football. I can let the helmet to helmet hits go easily, but trash talk? If Joe the plumber made that play with his own body, ah the exciting dirt you’d hear. With his back against the wall, Randall trusted his talent and blocked out Joe’s everyday man opinions, giving talent a win on the day. Talent will always hold more power than the buzz.
Kentrell Brice made three key tackles after returning from an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. The defense is far more dangerous with him on the field, but the 23 year old has had a different injury in almost every game this season. The safety continues to look like an x-factor for Dom Capers, it’s just a matter of keeping him on the field. Perhaps his role on special teams should be decreased.
Before I say anything. WOW. Definitely game of the year worthy. Anyways, I loved the performance by the o-line, especially late in the game. They did give up four sacks but one of those has a big asterisk by it. I’m referring to the sack early in the second half where it looked like a flag was thrown for intentional grounding, but was questionably called a late hit on a Cowboys defender. Officially the play went down as a sack with the late hit penalty, but that is up for debate. Overall, the o-line did better than expected. It helps to have starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga back, and hopefully next week left tackle David Bakhtiari will be back too. For now, backups Justin McCray and Lucas Patrick holding down the line in their absences. Next week will be another tough matchup versus a great Minnesota front seven, but if everyone is healthy, the task won’t seem as daunting.
It may not have been as close of a game if the defense could get off the field. Usually, the team who wins the time of possession wins the game, as you can dictate the pace of a game. Luckily, the Packers have the GOAT, Aaron Rodgers. However, Dallas had the ball almost 11 minutes longer than the Pack. They were also able to go 7/12 on third down, and a perfect 3/3 on fourth down. In order to win games, you have to control games. When the defense can’t get off the field, and allow long, methodical drives, your chance of winning significantly diminishes. The Packers did get lucky today with the offense clicking, but in games, like Minnesota, where the defense is much better, the Packers won’t be so lucky allowing their opponent to have the ball 11 minutes longer than they do. Rodgers, as godly as he is, cannot lead a team week after week with little time to operate. This week in practice, stopping opponents on third and fourth down must be emphasized.
Positive: Devante Adams
How do you not come out of this game admiring Devante Adams? The Thursday night game against the bears saw Devante recieve a brutal hit from Danny Trevathan and leave the game on a stretcher. Thoughts of missed time or end of career go through your mind at that point but thankfully he had to just spend the week in concussion protocol. The team wasn’t even sure if he would be able to play this week, not getting cleared until Friday, a day before flying in to Dallas. Without him I believe we lose this game. Cheers to Devante, he finished the game with 7 receptions, 66 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the game winner.
Injuries are a common occurrence in the NFL, no matter how hard they try to remove them. For the Packers it seems like year after year we have injuries to key players. This goes back to the year we won the super bowl and had backup players step up. This week we lost Morgan Burnett to a hamstring, Kevin King to a concussion and Jordy Nelson to an undisclosed injury. Although all these players may play next week, it’s tough to see key contributors go down. If this team can get these key players back along with players hurt from other weeks, we may be a very dangerous team come playoff time.
Andrew Tyler Boldt
Positives: After what looked like an unhealthy offensive attack for the Pack in the first 30 minutes of game time, things picked up in the third quarter. Aaron Rodgers facilitated the ball on the first drive out of halftime, with a 33-yard pass to a highly concentrated Martellus Bennett. That play was followed by Jordy Nelson’s first catch. Aaron Jones took over for Ty Montgomery, perfecting his frenetic footwork on a key fourth down, and was a reliable presence for the remainder of the second half. The game-winning, 62-second drive belonged solely to Rodgers, but Jones took a lot of pressure off him prior to that. Defensively, other than a head-scratching play – which led to a Cowboys touchdown – from linebacker Blake Martinez, the linebacking unit was full of vultures, who were all disruptive. Whether it was Nick Perry pressuring Dak Prescott, or Martinez running down Ezekiel Elliot, there was a lot to like this week from what has been a consistent corps.
Negatives: Decisively, injuries and little secondary resistance. Rookie corner Kevin King got concussed, and the secondary was porous in the first half, which allowed Prescott, who had the ball in his hands a lot more than Mike McCarthy could have wanted, to slice up the Pack via out routes and short passes across the middle. Things cooled off for Dallas in the second half – thanks to some key plays by Damarious Randall – but Prescott was still zipping the ball anywhere he wanted. Ty Montgomery is still hurt, as is David Bakhtiari, who could finally play his first snaps of the season with fellow tackle Bryan Bulaga against Minnesota in Week 6. Thankfully, things will be looking up next week, as those two figure to be back.