Packers rely on a patient offense and a disciplined defense in come-from-behind win over the Cowboys
GREEN BAY − A quick recap of the Green Bay Packers' 31-28 overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Big picture that this Packers win is at least a move in the right direction
The Packers haven’t yet saved their season, but they at least remain on life support after their come-from-behind, overtime win over Dallas. They ended their losing streak at five games, which means they won’t tie the 1988 Lindy Infante Packers, who lost seven straight games late in that season. The win had to be satisfying for Aaron Rodgers, Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst to beat former coach Mike McCarthy in their first meeting since he’s become the Cowboys’ coach. At 4-6, the Packers remain in the playoff race mathematically but have a tough schedule coming up that includes games at Philadelphia, at Miami and a home game against the Tennessee Titans. But a win is a win, and the reeling Packers got one they badly needed to end their downward spiral.
Turning point was the Packers' late game defensive stops
The Packers needed three defensive stops at the end of the game and Joe Barry's squad showed up each time. On the first, Green Bay had just scored to pull within 28-21 and Dallas started at its own 11-yard line. The Cowboys moved the ball but were forced to punt after 10 plays. On the second, after the Packers scored to tie the game, the Cowboys started at their own 25 but went three-and-out when Quay Walker and Jaire Alexander broke up passes on second and third downs, respectively. The third stop came in overtime after Dallas won the coin toss and elected to take the ball. They drove the ball on 11 plays, but the Packers defense stiffened and forced a turnover on downs.
Thumbs up to being patient with the running game
The Packers played the kind of game offensively that they have to play by keeping the ball on the ground and taking a couple of deep shots when the coverage was favorable. They ran the ball on their first six plays and got two first downs off it. In the first half, Rodgers attempted only six passes, with one essentially a run on a toss sweep to Aaron Jones that officially was a pass. One of the other passes was a perfect deep ball to rookie Christian Watson against one-on-one coverage on a third-and-1 for a 58-yard touchdown in the second quarter that tied the game, 7-7.
Thumbs down to Christian Watson's hesitation that cost another long TD
Watson had a big game with three touchdown catches. But he should have had a fourth, with the game tied early in the third quarter. Like on his 58-yard touchdown, the Packers faced a third down (and 4, this time), and with the Cowboys lining up with only one safety deep, Rodgers took another deep shot to Watson against one-on-one coverage. This time, though, Watson slowed up momentarily for some reason earlier in the route, and instead of catching a 42-yard touchdown in stride, he was unable to make an outstretched catch. So instead of hitting a huge play that would have given the Packers the lead in the third quarter, the Packers punted.