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Packer Partisan (09/24/2008)
By Dave DeLano

Cowboys Outmuscle Packers 27 -16

I hate to admit this but the Dallas Cowboys just might well be the best team in professional football right now. They sure looked the part with a national television audience watching the action in Lambeau Field Sunday night. Unfortunately, the Packers didn’t match up well at all against the ‘Boys and were thoroughly dominated in a game that was not nearly as close as the score indicates.

Most football games are won or lost by whoever wins the battles in the trenches and this one was no exception. The Cowboys have some massive players in their offensive line and they took full advantage of that from the get-go. Oftentimes it seemed as though the Packer defensive tackles could not shed their initial block, thus allowing the Cowboys’ Marion Barber to run almost at will. Ryan Pickett is usually stout in stopping the run but not against the Cowboys. Johnny Jolly and Colin Cole may as well not have suited up.

By halftime the Packers were only down by seven points, but the writing was on the wall; the Packers were the second-best team on the field that evening. Running back Barber already had 18 touches and the Packers had done little to stop him or the rest of the Cowboys’ offense. But for a nice interception and run back by Nick Collins, the score would have been far worse.

Offensively the Packers had great difficulties retaining possession and coming up with big plays throughout the game. The Packers’ offensive line is still missing two starters, and it was obvious that this group wasn’t getting the job done. Look for changes there next week with hopefully the return of Scott Wells and Josh Sitton. It doesn’t appear to me that Daryn Colledge and Tony Moll are starting-caliber NFL guards. Maybe Allen Barbre should get a chance too.

Aaron Rodgers didn’t make a major mistake even though he was constantly harassed. On the night, Rodgers was sacked 5 times and it would have been more if he were not blessed with somewhat magically-gifted quick feet. Missing though were big offensive plays as the Pack just couldn’t get the job done.

On the positive side, Aaron Rouse got a start at safety and led the team with 11 tackles, several of which would have gone for scores had he not made the play. Rouse has a big upside and should be getting more playing time hereafter. Brandon Chillar got a lot of snaps at linebacker and did a decent job. The coaches felt that Chillar’s pass coverage skills were superior to those of Brady Poppinga thus matching up better against the Cowboys’ talented tight end. It didn’t seem to matter too much though as the Cowboys’ offensive juggernaut clearly prevailed.

It will be interesting to see how the Packers respond to a loss like this one when they travel to Tampa Bay next week to face the Buccaneers. Youth is an asset on a football squad but it can also be a liability; let’s see if there is sufficient maturity to bounce back from a down game like this one.



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