Game Notes: Aaron Jones leads the charge over Cowboys

-- After a brief hiatus, Game Notes has returned, and I really couldn't think of a better occasion.

Well, maybe if I was writing about a Super Bowl win, but for now, we find solace in the fact that the Green Bay Packers clobbered the Dallas Cowboys in Jerry World. Of course, everyone and their mothers know that it's a 60-minute game. Four quarters. Plays don't end until the final whistle. So obviously, the Packers didn't get the memo and decided to allow the Cowboys to crawl back into the game.

From a 24-0 deficit, the Cowboys crawled back indeed. By late in the fourth quarter, the Packers' lead was cut to 10 points but they managed to escape unscathed 34-24 for their second road win of the season. It was also arguably their biggest.

Third-down woes continue

Matt LaFleur put it best after the game. The Packers have been in way too many third-and-long situations that put them at an odds with converting. It was evidenced against the Cowboys after they finished the game 3-for-12 on third down. A lot of these problems usually stem from anything that happens on first down -- or even second down -- that causes the Packers to lose yards. Whether it's a run call that gets stuffed or some kind of penatly against the offensive line that moves them backwards, it's an ongoing theme through the first five weeks of the season that has led the Packers to being one of the worst teams in the league on third down.

Now the red zone... That's another story. The Packers are bad there too.

Questions? Aaron Jones has your answers

26 touches and 182 scrimmage yards later, Aaron Jones put together the game of his life against the Cowboys. Jamaal Williams was out of the lineup with a concussion, so the Packers lacked the same dual-threat tandem they've sported in their backfield for three seasons now. But that didn't deter Jones from registering four rushing touchdowns, becoming the first running back to ever score that many against the Cowboys. No, seriously. In the entire history of the Cowboys' franchise, no running back has ever done that. El Paso's own rewrote history. He has eight rushing touchdowns in his last four games.

It's also a good reminder that Jones can still be the workhorse that the Packers want him to be. You're not going to see him pushing 25 carries every week, but through the first five games of the year, he's averaged over 15 rushes per game. With someone as dynamic as he is in the type of offense that he's in, it's essential that the Packers utilize him to his full capacity. It's through Jones that the passing attack is going to be at full force and truly open things up down field, and with Aaron Rodgers turning 36 in December, that's more important now than ever.

Don't put too much stock in Jaire Alexander's day

Amari Cooper had 226 yards on 11 catches and a touchdown against the Packers on Sunday, and a lot of that was in Jaire Alexander's coverage.

It seemed like a rude awakening after a strong start to the season led to many annointing him as a potential candidate for defensive player of the year, and he still certainly is. Alexander has been one of the best young corners in football this season, but when he was matched up against a veteran receiver like Cooper in Dallas, a lot of what we've seen from Alexander this season seemed to be thrown out the window.

Sure, Alexander landed his first interception of the season on a tipped ball that Cooper couldn't corral, but this is a game that goes beyond the realm of simple statisitcs. Flat out, the Packers' first-round pick from a year ago had a very, very rough day. It's impossible to truly evaluate his performance until the tape is accessible, but please, I'm begging all of you. Don't overreact to this. Please. Bad days against other good football players happen. 

And don't forget about Mason Crosby

Thanks to the Packers' abysmal special teams unit, Mason Crosby was forced to make a tackle on kickoff coverage and suffered an injury as a result. It's the second time this season he's been in that situation, but this time, he didn't end up so lucky.

But Crosby didn't miss a beat. He returned to the game after being helped off of the field with trainers, made two field goals before the end of the game and hit on all of his extra points. Otherwise, the Packers would need to turn to punter J.K. Scott for kicking duties, who went 1-for-3 on field goal attempts during his senior season at Alabama.

I wasn't going to end his column without showing Crosby some love.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (26)

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Favreisgod's picture

October 07, 2019 at 11:59 am

The Packers finally remembered the screen play! It's been 20 years since that was a staple in our offense but it opens up so much. Opposing defenses are forced to tighten up which gives Rodgers a chance to take some high percentage shots down field.

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murf7777's picture

October 07, 2019 at 12:04 pm

I think the D played soft by design and that would've been just fine if the Offense did anything on the last 5 possessions. On their last 5 possessions they had 14 yards. Discounting the last drive of -4 yards as they ran out the clock, you still only have like 18 yards on 4 possessions and no first downs. You throw some first downs in those drives and it is a blow out as the Packers would've used more of the clock. In the end, they did enough for a BIG W in Dallas! Give Dallas some credit for not giving up and making the 4th quarter tough on our Packers.

Love the game plan of using Aaron on quick routes, this will start to open up the field more for WR's and TE's.

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splitpea1's picture

October 07, 2019 at 03:50 pm

Everyone had to know the Cowboys were going to make a charge at some point. Luckily that point came too late and the hole they dug themselves was too deep to climb out of.

Since the Packers haven't really learned to chew the clock when they need to, they at least have to be smart and not shoot themselves in the foot with penalties or sacks that lead to unmanageable third downs. And where are our receivers? I don't know whether it's the play design, the inability to get open, or the ubiquitous "trust factor", but surely these guys can get open once in a while to catch a short pass that keeps the chains moving. With the exception of a nice slant reception, MVS and Allison were pretty much AWOL. I don't know how long we can continue with such sparse production from the receivers--maybe we need to shuffle the depth chart and see if we can do better.

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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2019 at 10:19 pm

I’ll take 34 points per game with our receivers and our defense every week. Thanks, Since ‘61

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splitpea1's picture

October 08, 2019 at 11:33 am

Yeah, but we need either a power running game or reliable short passing game to seal the deal when we need to. Like I said in a previous response, remember the NE-ATL Super Bowl? See below.

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edp1959's picture

October 07, 2019 at 08:41 pm

Nice try, blame the near comeback on the offense. Nope, not buying it.

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splitpea1's picture

October 08, 2019 at 11:27 am

Why not? Remember the New England-Atlanta Super Bowl? Atlanta's inability to keep the chains moving and chew up clock cost them a championship--not to mention a couple of killer penalties on offense. That's the only way a team can come back to win from being 25 points down late in the third quarter.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

October 07, 2019 at 12:24 pm

Just as a real question. Do you really believe J Williams is a threat? That the fact Jones got so many extra touches is just coincidence? That the same result would have happened if Williams took 1/3 of the carries?

Williams is not a threat. He is a guy who is in a position that needs upgrade. This without harking back to MIke Sherman who coached a different era

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LakeshorePackerBacker's picture

October 07, 2019 at 06:34 pm

It's not about whether Williams "is a threat" to Aaron Jones. That's not how the Packers use their running backs. Each player brings his own unique skill set to the table, and the Packers utilize them accordingly. Jamaal Williams is an integral part of what the Packers do on offense and he will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

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Old School's picture

October 07, 2019 at 09:37 pm

Jamaal Williams is a tough, smart football player. We’re lucky to have him and he’ll help us after Jones is broken.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

October 07, 2019 at 12:52 pm

Great overall team performance that showed Rodgers playing the most unselfish football he has played in years, with some good play designs in the first half and the awareness of checkdown options. I believe he finished the day with completions to 9 different players, including some great throws up the middle in traffic and 50/50 type throws where he had to trust his receiver to come up and make a play on them

Sloppy as hell play in the second half, and while the Packers still came away with the win, it definitely could have gone the other way. The Packers will need to do a better job in the 4th quarter next week, as the Lions have a history of pulling out comeback wins.

Loved the TE and FB screens - here's to hoping we see more of both in coming weeks.

Wouldn't be a Cowboys - Packers game without a big improbable sideline reception to a TE. Glad Tonyan pulled that one down. All three TEs were involved in the passing game, and that bodes well if Adams has a setback.

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dobber's picture

October 07, 2019 at 01:18 pm

Third down woes continue--because those predictable second down runs go nowhere.

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ricky's picture

October 07, 2019 at 02:02 pm

Alexander definitely had a terrible, no good day. It happens. Expect him to bounce back. What Jones did was make the Cowboys defense look below average. Similar to what the Philly RB's did against the Packers last week. And against Philly, the running game was non-existent, except to lose yards. Different week, different results. Jenkins at guard and Patrick at center made a huge difference. Or did the Cowboys run defense just have a bad week? That is what is so wonderful and frustrating about the NFL- it's like a box of chocolates...

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sonomaca's picture

October 07, 2019 at 03:11 pm

He had a pick and big return. Couldn’t be that bad.

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sonomaca's picture

October 07, 2019 at 03:13 pm

Bears schedule next 5 weeks.

New Orleans
Chargers
Eagles
Lions
Rams

Should lose at least two, if not three.

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Sure Shot's picture

October 07, 2019 at 03:25 pm

Hero of the first 5 games : Brian Bulaga
Not a single sack allowed while facing guys like Mack, Von Miller, Lawrence....
True all pro performance so far

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4thand1's picture

October 07, 2019 at 03:38 pm

Packer football is fun again. We never should have had to wait this long.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 07, 2019 at 03:54 pm

I love a win. Of course there is always room for improvement but right now I don’t mind. After this team seemed stagnant for so so long I am happy for the new attitude. I really did not expect a good start to the season but here it is, warts and all. I will take it.

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pacman's picture

October 07, 2019 at 04:53 pm

Do we give Dallas credit for their D coming alive in q4 or did our O run out of gas? Seems like our O line ran out of gas. Or maybe it was the play calling? But it is certainly not a good combination for O going flat and D giving up big plays. I'm sure most of us were worried about another Seattle melt down after a score and an onside kick.

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GBPDAN1's picture

October 07, 2019 at 05:50 pm

I have no doubt that Alexander will bounce back. He will learn from this game against the Cowgirls as he's only played in approximately 16 games (I believe) in his career so far - (he was hurt at the end of last year).

I remember some people saying - in the off season of last year- that the Packers should cut ties with Balaga since he had a history of medical issues ,he was out of training camp at the time and the team could save cap space. I was totally against that thinking and I'm glad that the Packers were too. The guy is a shut down RT. Even if he were to miss some time, he's still worth having.

I hope we get some good news regarding our injured players this week. The Lions will be well rested and healthy after having 2 weeks off. Another division victory next Monday night will keep the pressure on our divisional rivals.

If the Packers stay healthy, I can see this team going 12-4 with a first round bye

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Rak47's picture

October 07, 2019 at 05:27 pm

Credit needs to be given to LaFluer and Hackett for making the necessary adjustments to get the run game going. The outside zone has not been working so well so they switched to more inside zone runs where Jones is more comfortable and it paid big dividends. Nice adjustment by those two to get the run game up and going.
They can still tweak that outside zone until they get it right but will surely depend on the inside zone runs until then.

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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

October 07, 2019 at 05:35 pm

it is abundantly clear that we need a number 2 WR. MVS and GMO are not cutting it. They are 3-4 at best. After we go get another WR2, lets see more of Shephard and JK to fill the 3-4.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 07, 2019 at 05:43 pm

One note regarding Crosby heroic posture -maybe there is his fault for bad ST cover on kickoffs. Maybe it is mention that Crosby will put ball deep in the end zone and he failed 2 times to do it. One of those returns went bad.

What is my premise that it was Crosby fault? On PR Packers ST plays well and did not give Cowboys a lot on the return!

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PAPackerbacker's picture

October 07, 2019 at 06:16 pm

With all the media hype about Elliott and how he was going to have a career day against the Packers isn't it refreshing that it was Aaron Jones who had the career day against a supposedly better Cowboy defense? Never, ever, underestimate an opponent. Aaron Jones is a beast. And the Packers defense is the team that had the better day as well. Three interceptions, 3 sacks, and a bunch of hurried passes. Lots and lots of pressure on the opposing QB. There is always room for improvement but the Packers put one in the W column and that's a great feeling to be 4-1. And the win came from a team effort on both sides of the ball. Sure they need to clean up some things but I saw some progress in a lot of areas. Great team win!! Go! Pack! Go!

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stockholder's picture

October 07, 2019 at 07:08 pm

This team is no longer in transition. If there is a weak link, it's the Wrs. The Tes caught their Targets. Jones is Rodgers #2 Receiver. And he was the Star the packers needed in Dallas. I thought the packers played great. The Defense still saved the day. And while they may have tired. Nobody lost faith in it. The Offensive line was solid. They continue to get better. And know what to do. Rodgers continues to show that he still can lead. His up and downs, are on Allison and MVS. One great catch doesn't make you a WR. Going to the next level does. Their just not where they need to be. Their regressing!

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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2019 at 10:39 pm

The Packers played with a lead for the entire game. They are a young team especially on defense and they are still learning how to play. It looked they were tiring towards the end of the game and they became a little sloppy. It didn’t help losing Savage.

Fortunately we have the Smiths who are just relentless for the entire game and T. Williams who is a stabilizing force for the secondary. We need another DL who is good enough to support Clark. Maybe Adams can evolve into that guy. Lowry and Lancaster are not getting it done.

On offense our WRs are weak after D. Adams but Rodgers can still move the offense. Getting the run game going as they did against Dallas makes everything that much easier for the offense.

Offense needs to be better on 3rd downs and the defense needs to tackle better. Beyond that we’re pretty solid. Getting healthy is critical as well. Guys heal quicker when they’re winning. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ‘61

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