Case of the Mondays: What we learned from Packers win at Dallas
ARLINGTON, Texas. - On Sunday, the Packers rallied from a 21-12 halftime deficit to stun the Cowboys, 35-31 at AT &T Stadium. Here's a look at Fox 11's observations from the game.
PACKERS SHOW PERSISTENCY -
In the second quarter of this NFC clash Sunday, it appeared for the second time on the road in 2017, the Packers would be overcome by a talented opponent. Trailing 21-6 late in the second quarter, the momentum had shifted entirely in favor of the hometown Cowboys. However, unlike the lopsided road loss at Atlanta, this time Green Bay would respond with a strong rally. Aaron Jones touchdown capped a strong drive to end the first half, cutting the deficit to 12 at the break. Green Bay would then respond with a 23-10 run in the final 30 minutes, including a 63-second touchdown drive by Aaron Rodgers to orchestra the 35-31 comeback win. While it's only week 5, Mike McCarthy has to appreciate the team's ability to respond in a hostile environment and against a talented opponent which clearly dominated the play early. As tight end Martellus Bennett said after the game, "It's only week 5 but we have guys that are persistent and show persistence, two qualities you want to have."
RODGERS IS IN MVP FORM -
If you saw the game, there isn't much a paragraph of words will add. Simply put, Aaron Rodgers is playing like the NFL's best player through the first five weeks of the season. Sunday was the second time he's rallied the Packers to a game-tying or game-winning drive in the closing seconds and is a huge reason for Green Bay's 4-1 start to the season. Playing agai7 nst a talented Dallas pass rush, Rodgers added to his solid season numbers completing 19 of his 29 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns. The final pass, a 12-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams with 11 seconds remaining to cap off a 9-play-75-yard drive in 63 seconds to rally the Green and Gold to another thrilling victory at AT&T Stadium. For the season, No. 12 has 13 touchdowns compared to three interceptions and 1,367 passing yards.
ADAMS FAMILY MATTERS -
Does anyone deserve a game ball more than Packers wide receiver Davante Adams? Nearly a week after Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan landed the fourth-year wide receiver in the hospital with a concussion, No. 17 was back on the field and making huge plays for the Packers offense in crunch time. Adams hauled in seven catches for 66 yards, including the team's first and last touchdowns. The final snag coming with 11 seconds left in single coverage, to help Green Bay pull a thrilling victory out on the road for the first time this season. The former Fresno State Bulldog is simply that, a tough leader whose become a favorite of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers locker room. Sunday was a gutsy effort and just another example of the maturation process of one of the league's up and coming stars at the position.
AARON JONESING TO PLAY -
What can be said about the breakout performance of Packers rookie running back Aaron Jones? Aside from the fact that he had one of the more impressive rushing games in recent Packers memory. Stating in place of the injured Ty Montgomery, the first-year tailback out of UTEP rushed for 125 yards on 19 carries and scored a crucial touchdown late in the first half to help Green Bay rally for the victory. The shifty tailback, who had a large cheering section make the trip, showed poise and confidence from the opening drive and seemed to add another dimension to the Packers offensive attack. At 5'9, Jones is one of the shorter players on the roster, if not the NFL, but his size didn't stop him from making the type of hard nose runs which catch the eye of coaches and fans alike. With Montgomery nursing broken ribs, expect to see extended playing time for No. 33 next week in Minnesota.
DEFENSE DOES ITS BEST TO STOP DAK -
After giving up 24 points to the Cowboys in a less than stellar first half, Dom Capers unit stepped up their play in the final two quarters, limiting quarterback Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense to 10 points. The Packers suffered an early injury to top cornerback Kevin King (1TFL) and were forced to rotate often against an impressive passing attack. Dallas took advantage of their opportunities but Green Bay did as well. Cornerback Damarious Randall's interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter helped swing momentum in the Packers direction and the team also added a sack (Nick Perry) and two additional turnovers. The return of Mike Daniels at defensive tackle was a welcome sign and fellow lineman Kenny Clark certainly benefited, making five tackles and serving as a disruptive force against the run. Davon House noted there are certainly areas to improve on, the team gave up 408 total yards and missed an opportunity to end the game on fourth and inches, still there was improvement from several of the young players and it's a group which will continue to take strides as the season progresses. Linebacker Blake Martinez is starting to come on in the middle as the center of this defense and led the team with 12 total tackles.
SPECIAL TEAMS HOT AND COLD -
It was a mixed bag for the Packers special teams units on Sunday. Rookie punter Justin Vogel continues to look the part, booming two kicks for an average of 48.5 yards, including a monster 59-yarder, which Jeff Janis made a beautiful tackle on, to pin Dallas deep in their own end. The drive would result in Randall's interception return for a touchdown. The coverage units also performed nicely, keeping Dallas out of prime field position and making them use its entirety for the majority of their drives. The one area which left more to be desired revolved around the usually sure-footed Mason Crosby and the team's placekicking. Last year's division round hero, Crosby uncharacteristically missed two extra points before nailing a 22-yard field goal in the second half. With long snapper Brett Goode on the IR, it appeared rookie Tabor Pepper came under some fire for his low snaps during the game. Had the game come down to a last second attempt, it would have been interesting to see how the three-man unit, Vogel included, handled the pressure situation. Back in a closed roof this weekend, will the Packers make an adjustment or allow the special teamers to get on the same page heading into a critical NFC North stretch in the coming weeks.