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Recap: Green Bay Packers Defeat Cowboys 17-7

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From Blogging the Boys:

The Cowboys offense was terrible, the defense hung tough for as long as they could, but eventually buckled late in the game. This was all on the offense, though.

So that's a Cowboys fan's perspective. Looking back at the play-by-play, it took the Cowboys the first 3 quarters to figure it out on offense. They were shut out for most of the game because they weren't able to run the ball or protect QB Tony Romo. Also, while the Packers had more penalties and penalty yards, the Cowboys penalties seemed to hurt them more. They weren't able to get any rhythm on offense because of their running game, pass protection, and the penalties. Then, in their final 2 drives, they managed to protect Romo (except for that big hit DE Johnny Jolly put on him) and they abandoned the run. It could have led to 2 TDs, except CB Charles Woodson jumped the route on the goal line for his big INT.

While it's not unusual to see a great defensive performance from the Packers, it was unusual to see the pass rush work so well in this game. The concern is that it was only a temporary surge of sacks and QB hits. While Romo kept taking hits, he wasn't sacked on his final 26 pass attempts. Also, the Packers allowed another red zone TD pass, their 6th one allowed in the past 3 games.

The offensive line struggled again, allowing 4 sacks and 4 QB hits. Overall the offense struggled with an inconsistent running game, sacks, and penalties. They did manage to put it together for one long TD drive, but even then the Cowboys' penalties helped move it along. Dallas' defense has gotten better as the season has gone on, but it was not a great offensive performance. The exception being that they had zero turnovers (1 turnover was negated by a penalty). 

The special teams weren't great, but nobody on the Cowboys will be named NFC special teams player of the week either. The kick and punt coverage looked a lot better this week, so hopefully this is the start of a good trend. 

The Packers don't play another team with a winning record until December 20th (the Steelers in Pittsburgh). It's never easy in the NFL, but hopefully they can keep winning over the next four weeks. They play 3 of their final 4 games on the road, so this is the time to build a lead in the Wild Card standings.

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Play-by-play from

First Quarter:

(14:15) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers pass short middle to 85-G.Jennings to GB 30 for 11 yards (32-O.Scandrick, 26-K.Hamlin).

The 3rd play of the game was already a 3rd and 16 situation. I counted 12 plays ran where the distance was 10+ yards, out of 68 plays during the game. The penalties and negative yards just killed the flow of the offense throughout the game.

(12:25) 24-M.Barber left end pushed ob at GB 26 for 13 yards (36-N.Collins).

(11:43) 24-M.Barber up the middle to GB 19 for 7 yards (59-B.Jones).

The Packers' run defense has been outstanding most of the season, but the Cowboys had some success running the ball. So I was surprised to see they ended up averaging 4.4 yards/carry, but only called 14 running plays vs. 39 pass attempts. But their last two offensive drives went for 15 and 11 plays, all passes, and by that point they were down 17-0. They didn't have a lot of opportunities to run the ball.

(10:36) 6-N.Folk 38 yard field goal is No Good, Wide Left, Center-91-L.Ladouceur, Holder-1-M.McBriar.

A gift from K Nick Folk. I always expect kickers to make them against the Packers. 

(6:06) 2-M.Crosby 52 yard field goal is No Good, Wide Left, Center-61-B.Goode, Holder-10-M.Flynn.

Unfortunately K Mason Crosby matched with a missed FG of his own, after a good drive fizzled out at the Dallas 34 yard line.

(3:18) PENALTY on GB-70-T.Lang, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at GB 19 - No Play.

The only penalty on RT T.J. Lang, who did a good job matched up against LB DeMarcus Ware for much of the game. It seemed like LT Chad Clifton had more problems with Ware than Lang did.

(1:16) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers sacked at GB 15 for -8 yards (32-O.Scandrick). FUMBLES (32-O.Scandrick), RECOVERED by DAL-32-O.Scandrick at GB 15. PENALTY on DAL-21-M.Jenkins, Illegal Use of Hands, 5 yards, enforced at GB 23 - No Play.

The Packers committed 12 penalties for 100 yards, but the Cowboys hurt themselves more with penalties. If this fumble hadn't been overturned at the Packer 15 yard line, it obviously could have turned the game around.

Second Quarter:

(15:00) 9-T.Romo sacked at DAL 41 for -10 yards (56-N.Barnett).

I don't remember LB Nick Barnett ever blitzing this much in a game before. It kept working, so I guess Dom Capers just kept calling it.

(11:48) 12-A.Rodgers right end ran ob at GB 41 for 2 yards (94-D.Ware). PENALTY on GB-41-S.Havner, Personal Foul, 15 yards, enforced between downs. Penalty on GB-86-D.Lee, Offensive Holding, declined.

What a dumb play by TE Spencer Havner. I don't remember any obviously dumb late hits in the Buccaneers game, but they have had at least one in 3 of their 4 previous games. I don't notice other teams making those mental mistakes.

(9:04) 28-F.Jones right end to DAL 31 for no gain (90-B.Raji, 50-A.Hawk).

After gaining some good rushing yards on their first drive, the Cowboys only gain 11 yards on 6 carries for the rest of the 1st half. The Cowboys are averaging 5.1 yards/carry this season, so their struggles running the ball had to disrupt their offense. 

(4:03) (Shotgun) 9-T.Romo pass deep middle to 11-R.Williams to GB 30 for 42 yards (21-C.Woodson). FUMBLES (21-C.Woodson), RECOVERED by GB-52-C.Matthews at GB 31. 52-C.Matthews to GB 31 for no gain (19-M.Austin).

The first big play by Woodson. He strips the ball from WR Roy Williams after a long gain. Watch it here.

(2:10) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers sacked at GB 30 for -5 yards (72-S.Bowen). FUMBLES (72-S.Bowen), recovered by GB-86-D.Lee at GB 36. 86-D.Lee to GB 36 for no gain (26-K.Hamlin).

Unfortunately no offense came from the turnover. Two sacks, and a fumble, in three plays. Rodgers got really lucky that 2 fumbles were recovered, and a 3rd one, the only one he lost, was overturned on a penalty.

(1:50) (Shotgun) 9-T.Romo sacked at DAL 14 for -3 yards (52-C.Matthews).

LB Clay Matthews ran right around LT Flozell Adams. The speed of Matthews, Barnett, Woodson, and Collins on the blitz really caused their big, slow offensive line problems. It led to a 3-and-out, with one more chance to score.

(:02) 2-M.Crosby 48 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-61-B.Goode, Holder-10-M.Flynn.

Crosby nailed it. That kick would have been good from 60 yards at least.

Third Quarter:

(13:29) 1-M.McBriar punts 47 yards to GB 26, Center-91-L.Ladouceur. 38-T.Williams to DAL 46 for 28 yards (1-M.McBriar). FUMBLES (1-M.McBriar), RECOVERED by DAL-91-L.Ladouceur at DAL 44. 91-L.Ladouceur to DAL 44 for no gain (94-J.Wynn). Green Bay challenged the fumble ruling, and the play was REVERSED. 1-M.McBriar punts 47 yards to GB 26, Center-91-L.Ladouceur. 38-T.Williams to DAL 46 for 28 yards (1-M.McBriar). PENALTY on GB-29-D.Martin, Illegal Block Above the Waist, 10 yards, enforced at GB 33.

After a great defensive series (run stuff, sack, incomplete pass), there was this play. It was the correct call, but what a botched play by CB Tramon Williams. While trying to avoid the punter!

(9:14) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers sacked at DAL 46 for -4 yards (54-B.Carpenter). Penalty on GB-86-D.Lee, Offensive Holding, declined.

This drive started out with 6 rushing attempts (1 by Rodgers on a scramble). It helped keep the offense out long yardage situations, but they couldn't pass the ball when they needed to.

(8:56) Direct snap (Shotgun) 23-T.Choice left tackle to DAL 31 for 11 yards (79-R.Pickett). PENALTY on GB-31-A.Harris, Face Mask (15 Yards), 15 yards, enforced at DAL 31.

I'll be interested to see if CB Al Harris is fined for this phantom face mask penalty. The league office seems to fine every personal foul.

(7:59) (Shotgun) 9-T.Romo pass deep middle to 23-T.Choice to GB 35 for 22 yards (36-N.Collins). PENALTY on DAL-82-J.Witten, Offensive Pass Interference, 10 yards, enforced at DAL 43 - No Play.

That was a big pass, completed into Packer territory. And TE Jason Witten is called for the pick far away from the play. Another critical Cowboy penalty.

(4:08) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers pass short right to 85-G.Jennings to GB 48 for 14 yards (41-T.Newman).

(2:10) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers pass short middle to 86-D.Lee to DAL 38 for 17 yards (25-P.Watkins).

This is their big 15 play, 80 yard TD drive. After getting stuck in 3rd and long all game, they convert on 3-11 and 3-13 to keep the drive alive.

(:13) 25-R.Grant left end to DAL 23 for -2 yards (94-D.Ware). PENALTY on DAL-32-O.Scandrick, Illegal Use of Hands, 5 yards, enforced at DAL 21 - No Play.

Scandrick killed them on this drive with 2 penalties that resulted in 1st downs. 

Fourth Quarter:

(15:00) 12-A.Rodgers pass incomplete deep right to 89-J.Jones.

He had WR James Jones opened down the sideline, but it was just overthrown.

(13:17) 12-A.Rodgers left guard for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN. Penalty on DAL-94-D.Ware, Defensive Offside, declined.

Rodgers has been productive running the ball this season. He ran for a 1st down earlier in the game, and then this TD.

(11:52) (Shotgun) 9-T.Romo sacked at DAL 25 for -7 yards (21-C.Woodson). FUMBLES (21-C.Woodson), touched at DAL 20, RECOVERED by GB-52-C.Matthews at DAL 7. 52-C.Matthews pushed ob at DAL 3 for 4 yards (82-J.Witten).

Why can't they review whether one team has recovered their own fumble? Whatever the reason, it sure worked out for the Packers because RB Felix Jones probably recovered it. Watch it here.

(10:53) (Shotgun) 12-A.Rodgers pass short left to 41-S.Havner for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Spencer Havner: reliable go-to receiver. Who knew? Watch it here.

(8:14) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 9-T.Romo pass incomplete deep middle to 80-M.Bennett.

Bullet: dodged. It looked like he was wide open and had a clear lane to the end zone, but Romo overthrew him. 

(6:03) (Shotgun) 9-T.Romo pass short right intended for 82-J.Witten INTERCEPTED by 21-C.Woodson at GB 1. 21-C.Woodson to GB 4 for 3 yards (82-J.Witten).

Just a back breaker. A 16 play, 76 yard drive ends when Woodson does a great job and jumps the route. They were finally able to keep the pressure off Romo and move the ball down the field, but it was a battle for every completion. This drive ate up almost 5 minutes and gave Dallas no time to mount a comeback.

(3:31) 7-J.Kapinos punts 41 yards to DAL 46, Center-61-B.Goode. 84-P.Crayton to GB 47 for 7 yards (41-S.Havner). PENALTY on DAL-98-C.Johnson, Illegal Block Above the Waist, 10 yards, enforced at DAL 47. Penalty on DAL-85-K.Ogletree, Illegal Block Above the Waist, declined.

Too bad the Packers weren't able to run out the clock after the INT. But I point this play out because it was the second special teams penalty by Dallas DE Curtis Johnson in the 4th quarter. 

(:42) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 9-T.Romo pass short right to 11-R.Williams for 9 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

The 2nd drive in a row where the Cowboys are able to protect Romo and move down the field. It's a good thing they weren't able to figure this out until only 11 minutes remained in the game. And this was the 2nd good game in a row for WR Roy Williams. How come the Cowboys hadn't been able to use his height against shorter CBs until recently?