by Mark Metzler
Running back Aaron Jones scored four touchdowns to lead the Packers to an important road win over the Dallas Cowboys, 34-24.
After getting up 31-3, the Packers were able to hold on against a determined Cowboys team, thanks mostly to Jones, who ended with 107 yards rushing and 75 yards receiving. It was almost an epic collapse, and really the game ended as it started, with the Cowboys running through the Packers’ defense. But time ran out. This Packer team has a way of keeping you on the edge of your seat.
The Cowboys looked as if they could do no wrong right away, running and passing through the Packers at will until a ball bounced off Amari Cooper’s hands and into Jaire Alexander’s hands. His great interception return led to a nice mixture of passes and runs, culminated by Aaron Jones’ 18-yard run.
The Cowboys got the ball back and moved again with a long pass to Cooper – who the Packers had a hard time covering. But a Za’Darius Smith sack of Dak Prescott took the Cowboys out of field goal range. It was a big sack. The Packers were able to take the ball 89 yards. The best play was a nice pass from Aaron Rodgers to Robert Tonyan, who was hurt soon after. Again, Aaron Jones was able to score on a three-yard run.
Injuries started to take their toll not long into the second quarter. In addition to Tonyan, center Corey Linsley left the game with a concussion and then valuable rookie safety Darnell Savage hurt his left leg. They were tough injuries, and they added to the problems the Packers already faced with Davante Adams out with a toe injury and Jamaal Williams out with a concussion.
The Cowboys moved the ball all of the first half, but weren’t able to capitalize at all because of turnovers and penalties. At the half, the yards were almost even at 218 for the Packers and 215 for the Cowboys, but the Packers were up 17-0.
Given the Packers’ inability to put people away over the past few years, I paced during halftime and hoped the team would be able to stop the Cowboys. They did, and drove the ball down the field again, again capped by an Aaron Jones’ touchdown run to make it 24-0. I was relieved, but it was only momentary.
From there on things really started to fall part. Dallas put up a ton of offense behind Prescott and Cooper, and the Packers couldn’t stop them. It was the same against the Eagles. The Packers need to continue to adjust.
It’s always fun to beat Dallas. After five games, the Packers are 4-1 against five good teams and are leading the division. It’s a great start. Frankly, an unexpected start, and I don’t know how good this Packers team is really, especially with the injuries starting to mount. Next week, it’s a Monday-night game at home against the surprising Detroit Lions. We’ll get some more answers then.
During the week before the game I visited with two friends who are Vikings fans. (I actually have a lot of friends who are Vikings fans.) They were tortured by their team. Tortured. One blamed it on karma and the other blamed it on Kirk Cousins, Mike Zimmer and myriad other reasons. So, I trotted this one out: I think Mike McCarthy would be a good coach for the Vikings next year. After all, adding Brett Farve almost took the Vikings to the Super Bowl (yes, they were robbed). So, McCarthy might do the same.
For the record, neither of my friends deemed my suggestion worthy of a response. Good rumor to start though. And you heard it here first.