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Packers 35 Cowboys 31: Game Balls & Lame Calls

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Packers 35 Cowboys 31: Game Balls & Lame Calls

The Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Sunday.  That phrase is becoming commonplace lately.  The Packers completed a dramatic come-from-behind effort and scored on an Aaron Rodgers-to-Davante Adams-touchdown pass with 11 seconds left to push ahead and score a big win.

Rodgers continues to torture Dallas fans the way Brett Favre never could.  This was Green Bay's second-straight win in Dallas and the second time in 2017.  It could set the stage for a potential playoff match up but it would look to be in Green Bay with the Packers now holding the head-to-head tie breaker.

In a game where the Packers put themselves in a hole early on and, once again, had to charge back, there was plenty of good and bad in this game.  Here are the toppers on each side.

Game Balls

Aaron Jones

Wow!  That's my first reaction to the day he had today.  Jones turned in the Packers' first 100-yard day by a single running back this season.  19 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown in place of the injured Ty Montgomery.  That stat line will get you a starting job.  Jones added a catch for nine yards as well.

After all of the talk about Jamaal Williams being the easy number-two behind Montgomery, Jones has stormed up the depth chart and may now reside at the top of it.  It's hard to imagine that the Packers would keep Montgomery on the sideline when he's healthy, but the team appeared to get some reassurance that they can survive and let him fully heal from his rib injury.

Jones's emergence comes just in time as the Packers will face an active Vikings defense and pass rush on the road next week.

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers didn't allow the early deficit and struggles to keep him from being Aaron Rodgers.  And what "being Aaron Rodgers" translated into was another "ice water in his veins" drive to take the lead for good.  Rodgers had a crucial run during the drive to give the Packers a legitimate chance to go for the end zone instead of a tying field goal. 

Rodgers has shed any knocks on his ability to come from behind or that he can come up big in the clutch.  10 seasons later, we're still being amazed by #12 as the starting quarterback of the Packers.  Whether with his arm, his feet or his mind, he's a sight to behold.  I just hope I'm able to say I truly appreciate everything that I see from him.

Rodgers's longest run of the day proved to be key as he scampered 18 yards on the Packers last drive to keep the ball moving.  The run gave them a chance to score a touchdown instead of settling for a field goal to tie and two plays later, Rodgers floated a beauty to Davante Adams for what would become the winner.

Davante Adams

Adams deserves a game ball for playing in this game at all but by virtue of his nice touchdown catch with 11 second left to put the Packers ahead, he gets a game ball.  Adams suffered a concussion 10 days ago against the Bears and emerged from a hospital visit and the break ready to go.

Adams caught the Packers' first touchdown of the day and despite a drop later on, he fully redeemed himself.  After an incompletion on the first attempt following the Rodgers run, Adams reportedly asked to run the same play in the huddle.  Head Coach Mike McCarthy and Rodgers were happy to oblige.

Adams had a team-high seven catches on 11 targets.  

Clay Matthews

Matthews has produced quietly this season and was active early on in this game.  He finished with five tackles, a pass defended and a tackle for a loss.  He may not look like the Claymaker we remember when he came into the league, but his presence is very much needed on this defense.  Hopefully he can stay healthy and turn in a full season.

Martellus Bennett

Bennett had just three catches but today was about quality over quantity for the outspoken tight end.  His first was a nice catch while falling backwards and that moved the Packers into field goal range early in the second half.  His last catch was a 14-yarder that moved the Packers into Dallas territory on their game-winning drive. 

Bennett hasn't looked great so far this season after high expectations of what would provide to the Green Bay offense.  He didn't have flashy stats in this game, but his contributions ended up helping the Packers put points on the board.

Lame Calls

Justin Vogel

Coming into this season and with Vogel not really challenged for the punting duties, one of the concerns was his place holding.  Those concerns were warranted in this game.  Vogel bobbled a low snap that he still should have been able to handle and kicker Mason Crosby missed the point after try (PAT).  It was Crosby's second miss of a PAT on the day.

It looked like the lost points after the touchdowns might prove costly to the Packers but they pulled out a win.  Here's hoping that this blunder doesn't get inside Vogel's head and cause more issues later on.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Clinton-Dix looked a step slow and unable to close on some plays he probably should have made.  He has yet to make any type of splash play this season unless you count the triple-team pass break up in week one.  He had the team's first interception of the season last week against the Chicago Bears but that was a terrible throw, not a great play. 

I'm admittedly not totally aware of what is expected of Clinton-Dix in this defense, but for a guy who was supposed to become an elite-level player this season, we've seen nothing close to it from the safety.  The good news is that he's still a good safety and there are 11 games left for him to define his 2017.

Nick Perry

Perry has played with a club cast following hand surgery, which is admirable.  One of the Packers best pass rushers, he is a needed piece on a defense that is looking to become one of the better units in the league.  That said, Perry's gaffe during the game's last play could have become a much bigger problem that might have conjured up memories of the last visit to Seattle.  

Perry had the ball bounce into his hands during a lateral attempt as the Cowboys moved down the field trying to pull off a miracle.  He casually dropped the ball onto the ground, keeping the play alive.  It wasn't until several laterals later that the Packers finally ended the play and the game.  Not Perry's best moment, regardless of how costly it was.


Others to mention

  • Blake Martinez had a game high 12 tackles and one pass defended.  He's always around the ball and I'd even go so far as to say that this #50 has been what we were hoping to see from the last guy who wore it
  • Damarious Randall was at least in the right place at the right time on the tipped ball that he took into the end zone for a touchdown.  True to form, he quickly picked up a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct for flipping the ball at Dak Prescott after the play.  Whether Randall meant to hit an opposing player or not, he just doesn't seem interested in keeping his head on straight.  He does plenty with his athletic ability (he had a nice pass break up deep downfield on a free play) but his head is what will hold him back.  With Kevin King dealing with a concussion, Randall is going to be counted on to fill in and produce.  Is he up to the task?
  • Randall Cobb had some big catches early that kept drives moving.  What he's done so far this season has made a case for the Packers to keep Cobb beyond this season
  • Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark combined for eight tackles.  Daniels was a welcome sight after missing the last two games with a hip injury.  These two won't ever have flashy stats, but they prove to be unsung and big contributors each week
  • A few communication issues with the offensive line caused some early pressure and hits on Rodgers.  They settled in and also got some help with some shifty running by Aaron Jones too.  With David Bakhtiari missing his fourth-straight game, it's reassuring that they can get by with Lane Taylor filling in at left tackle and Justin McCray at left guard.  A big test comes next week in Minnesota's Everson Griffen and if Bakh can't go
  • Jamaal Williams is either still hurt or his only move is to run straight into the middle of the line and push ahead for half a yard.  That won't get him many touches, especially with the emergence of Jones


Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Pulse of the Pack podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (61) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

Game Balls...All the obvious ones have been mentioned from Jason, and they all deserved to be mentioned.

I thought Bulaga played well in his first game back on a less than 100% ankle.

The Packers TE Position had 93 yards on 5 catches. I don't care how and who, I just want results and the TE's delivered.

Mike McCarthy... He won a challenge AND he stuck with Aaron Jones. All game long I held my breath McCarthy wouldn't pull out Jones and put in Williams. One run by Williams up the O-Linemen's butt and he was out. Thank God!

Lame Balls....

What was up with Corey Lindsey. At least half his snaps were being caught by Rodgers just before hitting the turf. He also let his man run right by him more than once. The Packers NEED him to be better moving forward.

Hell, I'm too happy to be negative right now...That's it for me!!

snowdog's picture

I mentioned it last year about the hike being so low that AR had to look down to catch it thereby taking his eyes off the defence . That has to a big concern to the well oiled Packer offence machine . Can you say fumbles .

Gman1976's picture

I keep reading how Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is having a Ho-Hum season by a number of different writers. Is he playing hurt? Has he gained weight? Is it our DC's scheme? Or is he just not the player we thought he is?

MITM's picture

He looks slow and out of shape honestly.

croatpackfan's picture

He always looks like that!

Curt's picture

looked either lost or a step behind on everything.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Sadly Marvin Evans has played better than than HaHa this season so far. I hope he figures out what he is doing. That play he gave up on the Cowboys first drive was terrible.

Duke Divine's picture

He's always late and has never made a break on a ball to high point a pick. Always a step late. Every pick of his career is from a bad over throw. Maybe I expect too much cause of the way Nick Collins played but Ha Ha is extremely overrated from what I see on the field.

x24's picture

Clinton-Dix was usually a sure tackler, but this season I've noticed a step back in his technique. Instead of wrapping a player up, he puts his head down and throws himself at the player- same reason we all scolded Trevathan.

Focus on fundamentals could improve his game

snowdog's picture

Dix was tackling with his head down 2 years ago . Last year the his tackling was better when it was corrected . But it has gone back to head down.

LayingTheLawe's picture

That was my question exactly. If he playing poorly or is it the position he is being asked to play in the defense? Or both?

snowdog's picture

Another victim of Dom Capers complicated scheme . TT's picks can't all be busts in the D backfield for the last 5 years . Dbacks or Capers schemes ?
I'll pick Dom .

Hematite's picture

That was the Aaron Jones I've been waiting to see.
I hope McCarthy sticks with him regardless of Montgomery's status.
Aaron Rodgers seems to think very highly of "little" Aaron.

dobber's picture

"Aaron Rodgers seems to think very highly of "little" Aaron."

Apparently Olivia didn't agree...

RCPackerFan's picture


WinUSA's picture

Now THAT's funnyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :+)

Mojo's picture

"little"Aaron - AKA ARod.

dobber's picture

I may never use that nickname on here again...

snowdog's picture

Fart jokes always leave them laughing .

EdsLaces's picture

Also like to add that "Ball" Hawkins almost had a sweet int..

RCPackerFan's picture

That was a great play. I like the way Hawkins plays.

Also, I think Brice would have had an interception on the throw to Whitten had he not being looking right in the sun. He seemed to just go for the safe play.

dobber's picture

He got beat and he recovered. In part, it wasn't the best play by Prescott, but you have to give Hawkins credit for staying in that play.

RCPackerFan's picture

Exactly right. What I loved though was that he showed his recovery speed on that play. He made a mistake but was able to recover.

Duke Divine's picture

28 needs more snaps!!!!!

A_Lerxst_in_Packerland's picture

A couple specific plays that made me smile:

Kevin King's hit early in the game - and for once the refs didn't throw a bogus flag.

Jeff Janis's hit on that punt that put Dallas way back near their end zone. I love how he plays on special teams.

x24's picture

Yes- great tackle by gunner Janis on that punt.

On the other hand, on Janis... WTF was that "fake like I am going to fair catch" at midfield on that other punt? What was the expected outcome? Did he think it was going into the end zone? The result was our offense pinned at the 12 yard line- again...

Curt's picture

Another lame call goes to the official that called a hit to a defenseless receiver on Bryant in the end zone. Generally there should be a hit for something like that to be called, not a graze near the area

croatpackfan's picture

I believe we were watching the same game. So, what is the problem with Justin Vogel? He got the ball thrown short and low from long snapper. That was the problem with the second PAT. It was not his mistake, he did the best he can with given circumstances...

Also, referees again did not call obvious "running in the punter" call and his second punt was beauty regarding both distance and hanging time. Also, that punt lead to pick six.
He should be placed in "Others to mention" group, not to lame call group.

Also, I think Damarious Randall had nice and productive evening, not only for his pick six, but for coverage. Bryant TD was well executed play and Randalll covered well. But, we all know that he is not Richard Sherman, so he can not push, pull, hold etc opponent receiver w/o penalty. And he was covering top 10 WR in NFL. With ball perfectly placed it is arogant to expect from CB to be able to prevent that TD.

Ha-Ha do looks like he is wondering what he is doing on the field, but he (at least to me) looks like that all the time. As we do not know his assignements, it is hard to say does he plays well or not. "... but that was a terrible throw, not a great play ..." is excuse when you do not want to admit that someone did something good to excellent. How I know that? There is so many terrible throws in this league, but I do not see that all of them are intercepted. If you want to intercept any throw you have to be on the right position on the field. And that is what comes to player account, not "luck" account.

RCPackerFan's picture

yeah, that snap on the 2nd PAT was bad. Maybe Vogel should have caught it better, but he was lucky to get it down. The snap needs to be better.
The first missed PAT looked like it was on Crosby.
Also Vogel did have that booming punt which flipped field position.

dobber's picture

"How I know that? There is so many terrible throws in this league, but I do not see that all of them are intercepted."

In the end, the players still need to make the plays. Sometimes, QBs will hit defenders right in the numbers or the hands, and they'll drop the ball. I saw a few people demeaning Randall's pick 6. Tipped balls are some of the hardest to come up with. That's why defenses practice them all the time. I won't get after a guy who makes a play no matter how easy it might have looked.

croatpackfan's picture

dobber I agree 100%

RCPackerFan's picture

Game Balls:
Rodgers - I really wonder what the Cowboy fans thought when they left 1:13 left on the game clock.

Jones - I have been very high on Jones since the draft. While I still think Williams will be good, Jones is clearly better right now. He has the vision, speed/quickness, and power. He has that quick cutting ability and makes defenders miss.
When Montgomery comes back I think we will see a balanced attack of the 2. Going to be a really good 1-2 punch.

Adams - Just the fact he was able to play is remarkable. And to catch the game winning pass, simply amazing!

Martinez - He has become our best ILB. He has really taken a step in year 2 and our defense has improved greatly for it.

McCarthy - He has this team going. I loved that 4th down play he used. Great design, and trusting his rookie RB over your MVP QB, takes some serious balls.

Lame Calls:
I am to positive after the game to talk about the negatives. There were some, but this is Victory Monday so I choose to stay positive.
So I will give myself a lame call for sitting Adams on my fantasy team. I decided to not play him because I didn't know if he was going to play and if so how much. Turns out to be a very dumb mistake. One though that I'm happy making.

dobber's picture

"He has this team going. I loved that 4th down play he used. Great design, and trusting his rookie RB over your MVP QB, takes some serious balls."

#33 has the quicks to get to the edge. How often have we seen a flip or pitch to Lacy in short yardage that gets bottled up in the backfield? In those cases, it was poor use of a guy who isn't at his best running laterally.

CJ Bauckham's picture

I actually think Lacy would've had that 1st down too. I agree it's a play better suited for Jones, but that's the first time I've seen in a while where we've ran a toss and the blocking was good enough to give the rb room to work

dobber's picture

It did make me nervous, though, when he flipped to ball out to Jones on that play. Too many flashbacks of #27...

And at least they did it out of a passing or neutral formation. Way too often in short yardage they bring everyone in tight and telegraph what they're going to do. This OL isn't a power running unit.

RCPackerFan's picture

I love what Jones brings. He can run inside and out. We haven't had a RB that could routinely make it to the corner.

dobber's picture

At least not since #88 got hurt.... ;)

RCPackerFan's picture

True. Montgomery can. Its just a different type of running with Jones. I was more comparing to the RB's of past few years. The Lacy/Starks combo for a long time.

GBPDAN1's picture

Great win! Let's win these next 2 and get healthy during the bye week. Speaking of health, King, Burnett, Randall and Nelson all got injured in the game. This pattern of 3-4 guys going down a game has to subside! I hope they are good to go next week....oh, and Bak, too! Beating the Bears, Cowpies and ViQueens in consecutive weeks would be sweet! Go Pack!

egbertsouse's picture

Just give AR all the game balls. Without him we don't win. in fact, without him we don't win many games.

dobber's picture

But the bottom line is: they do have him.

EdsLaces's picture

Game ball to my little bro who is still in recovery and will be for a while . His feet touched the ground for the first time in months yesterday. And after the win he sends me his first text since Aug 9th that says simply ...go pack go. Talk about a win for the home team ..

dobber's picture

Best to you and your family, Ed.

croatpackfan's picture

He will get all Game balls for the season - week in and week out!

Good luck with his recovery!

EdsLaces's picture

Thanks guys. Go pack go!

Spock's picture

Great news on your brother. Season Game ball for sure!

marpag1's picture

Here's a video of Skip Bayless reacting to Aaron Rodgers kicking some Dallas ass. Enjoy. I think he actually cries a little bit. Seriously.

dobber's picture

He seems to be awfully proud of that "Mason Cross-bar" nickname. Suck it, Skip.

carlbs's picture

Skip Bayless is a Homer. To say anything more is to give him way more time than he deserves, anywhere. The only time I watch his show is when the Packers kick the boys' butts cuz I love seeing that overpaid loser sink his coffee-stained teeth into some serious crow.

HankScorpio's picture

Troy Aikman had perhaps the most lame call I have ever heard when he observed that the Packers were not built to come from behind.

marpag1's picture

Yeah, that was a good one. But I also liked when Aikman said that Bakhtiari had been beaten for a sack, and then the camera went immediately to Bakhtiari on the sideline in street clothes, and Aikman was rendered speechless for about 15 seconds. lol.

Spock's picture

That shot of Bahk was priceless with Aikman totally gob smacked by his error (and I actually don't mind Aikman usually). Absolutely hilarious!

HankScorpio's picture

Yeah, that was another low point for Aikman.

And they had just been talking about how Bakh was hurt. A few seconds later, Bakh is healthy and giving up street clothes on the sidelines.

I think FOX needs to look for a new #1 color commentator. Especially with CBS finding Romo, who is drawing raves for his work in the booth.

lou's picture

You are right, Romo is so insightful and refreshing compared to Aikman and a huge upgrade over Sims, a big move by the network that hit a home run, give them credit. Now if we can only get Erin Andrews to not call Mike McCarthy "Mark" like she did several times last season, loved the look on his face the first time it happened, like "are you talking to me".

flackcatcher's picture

Don't tell me the CBS TV director didn't do that on purpose. That cut to the sideline was hard and fast the second Aikman mentioned Bakh. God I laughed so hard, what a smack down . Must not be much love between the announcers and that crew.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Stephen Smith said it all Last Night.


Finwiz's picture

People always think Favre was the best Packer QB because he was a stat machine, and was the iron man, but I used to think Starr was the best because of the championships, and playing while making so few mistakes (INT's).

I'm pretty sure Rodgers is the best Packer QB of ALL TIME. The guy is really something extraordinary.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Finwiz, Stephen Smith put it this way last night. Tom Brady has to be considered the Best QB of All Time because he has the Rings to show for it. You can make a case for Montana, But he said TALENT WISE, Rogers is the Best, No Question About It. I agree with that analogy.

dobber's picture

He's the best QB in an era that features the QB more than ever before.

It's a great combination.

idgafkurt's picture

Game Balls - two guys that have had solid, underappreciated seasons played well again Sunday:

DT - Kenny Clark - went up against one of the best interior lines in the league and more than held his own.

RG - Jahri Evans - his reliability has been huge for the line this year. Sunday he keyed blocks on Jones TD, his 22 yard run early in the 3rd and the draw play on the final drive.

al bundy's picture

I agree with jason on Dix. I've never seen anyone avoid contact like him. He s the worst deep safety in the game.
Some f you question jones, hey pre season monty is nummer one decision made no need to discuss it.
Williams was drafted by ted the genius before jones, so he has a to be number 2. No decision.

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