Taking a look inside the Xs & Os, personnel and schemes after watching video of the Packers' 45-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday...
- Dom Capers blitzed Charles Woodson and A.J. Hawk on the same play on three different occasions on Sunday night, each time both of them putting pressure on the right side of the Dallas offensive line. Here's the result of those three plays:
- A Woodson sack and forced fumble eventually recovered by Dallas.
- A John Kitna hurried pass broken up by Clay Matthews and falls incomplete
- A pass deflected by Hawk ending up in the hands of Clay Matthews for a 62-yard interception return for a touchdown.
- The interception by Matthews was the only non-goal line play in which Capers sent at least six pass rushers. Look at the result.
- Sam Shields more than made up for any shortcomings with his interception, but the only series on which the Cowboys scored was a little rough on the rookie. Dez Bryant caught three passes on that possession for 56 all with Shields in coverage, including the touchdown pass.
- The Packers played only 6 snaps in their base defense, all within the first 25 plays of the game. Once the Cowboys were down by 28, the Packers played nickel the last 26 snaps of the game and 45 times overall.
- In a sign of how much the Packers respected DeMarcus Ware and the Dallas pass rush, the Packers used max protect schemes (7 or 8 players in pass protection) a season high 15 times. The previous high was 13 in Week 6 against the Dolphins and only had as many as 10 two other times this season. The result was only 1 sack given up and 2 quarterback hits.
- On the flip side, it goes to show how bad the Dallas secondary really is. In the four times the Packers used eight players in pass protection and sent out only two receivers, the Packers completed all four passes (although one was a dumpoff to John Kuhn who started out in pass pro).
- Aaron Rodgers made the Cowboys edge rushers pay for getting to deep. On several occasions, all Rodgers had to do was step up in the pocket, and he had perfect protection. Either he got off the pass or he took off running to the tune of 8.2 yards per carry.
- The running game was trending to the right side of the offensive line behind Bryan Bulaga and especially Josh Sitton. The Packers ran 8 times to the left, 8 times up the middle of the field and 13 times to the right.
- Brandon Jackson isn't a burner but has just enough speed to beat defenders to the edge. Twice on Sunday (once in the first quarter and once in the third) on runs intended to go up either up right tackle or left tackle, Jackson saw the middle of the field clogged up and stretched the play out to the sideline, getting first downs each time. He also was slippery on a second quarter dumpoff pass from Aaron Rodgers turning a gain of what should have been probably two yards into a gain of eight.
- Anytime you kick a 54-yard field goal or longer, it's a risk. Long field goals require a low trajectory. It's hard to blame Mason Crosby and the blocking seemed to be fine. The player who blocked the kick didn't get any penetration. It wasn't the Cowboy coming off the edge, even though that's what it appeared to look like in real time.
- Atari Bigby fared very poorly on special teams, especially on punt return. He was too slow to offer any help as a jammer, allowing his man to make a tackle on Tramon Williams for no gain. Then he fell flat on his face when lining up in a edge rusher while trying to make the transition from rusher to blocker in the third quarter.
- Eric Walden has to be better on kickoffs.
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