AT&T Stadium is starting to feel like a second home for the Packers after they gutted out another thrilling last minute win over the Cowboys. With a little over a minute left Dak Prescott kept a read option and scampered in for an 11-yard touchdown. The Cowboys had the lead, but left 1:13 on the clock for the most lethal quarterback in the NFL. It took Aaron Rodgers seven plays to reach Dallas’ 12-yard line and set up the game-winning touchdown. In the huddle Davante Adams told Rodgers to run the same back shoulder go-route that had failed just the play before. “He basically told me with his eyes to throw a better ball,” said Rodgers. And he delivered. Rodgers put the ball where only Adams could catch it and secure an astounding 35-31 win for Green Bay. The Packers find themselves in a favorable position at 4-1 and atop the NFC North.
It was another slow start for the defense as the Cowboys gained over 200 yards of offense in the first half. The Cowboys dominated time of possession keeping them on the field for what felt like the entire half. The time of possession differential was in Dallas’ favor by seven minutes. Prescott ran 38 plays compared to Rodgers’ 24.
The defense had a chance to set the tone early, but allowed Prescott to extend a play on third and long to find Brice Butler for a back breaking 49-yard gain.
Multiple times the defense had a chance to bring Prescott down for a sack, but failed to finish the play. He rivals Rodgers as the top QB at making plays with their feet and demonstrated it vs the Packers. Prescott scrambled four times for 37 yards and a touchdown.
I am not sure what Dom Capers told the defense at halftime, but they definitely came out of the locker room refocused. Especially the secondary. Corner Josh Hawkins almost came up with a big interception during the third quarter on a pass intended for Dez Bryant.
Unexpectedly, it was Damarious Randall who had the big play for the defense on Sunday. Randall was shunned to the locker just 10 days before after sideline antics towards a coach. Despite a tough week, he bounced back. The Packers had just punted the ball back to Dallas down two points in the final quarter. Prescott dropped back and looked right but all he found was Randall for a 21-yard pick six. The lone turnover in the game.
Regrettably, after scoring he tossed the ball at Prescott earning an unsportsmanlike penalty. Clearly Randall still has some growing up to do.
On the offensive side, the big story was rookie running back Aaron Jones. Playing in his home state, he got all he could out of the debut carrying the ball 19 times for 125 yards and a touchdown. Jones had a monstrous 15-yard run on the final drive in which he was able to get out of bounds and stop the clock on. Making the gutsy call by Mike McCarthy look even more genius.
“(Jones) earned the opportunity to start today and he produced,” McCarthy said.
On a sadder note, it would not be a Packers game without some injuries. Kevin King exited the game in the first quarter after going down with a concussion. He was going to see a lot time shadowing Bryant who torched the Packers last season, though he did not get much of an opportunity. Jordy Nelson was not on the field for the Packers final drive, but there has been no indication as to what was wrong. McCarthy said Nelson was being ‘evaluated’ but did not elaborate. Nelson walked gingerly to the sideline after laying out for a failed two-point conversion in the fourth.
Next week the Packers are headed to Minnesota to try and get their first win at US Bank Stadium.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.