In a game almost no one believed the Packers would come out on top in, the Packers did something Aaron Rodgers has always been able to do: Beat the Cowboys. And while after a long 5 game losing streak, to beat the cowboys was a very heavy sigh of relief for packers fans that have hope that this season may still have a chance to be turned around. But within that win, there was a lot of good, but also a lot of bad that we have to talk about.
1. The ability to run the ball effectively was one of the best things the Packers were able to do against the Cowboys. Packers RB Aaron Jones ran the ball for a season high 24 attempts for 138 yards and a touchdown while averaging 5.8 yards per carry. In Aaron Jones 2nd game this season with 20+ touches, he has shown that he can carry the workload when it is needed and that he should not have another game with under 15 carries, like he already has in 6/10 games this season. Packers other star RB AJ Dillon had a solid game with 13 attempts for 65 yards with no touchdowns and 5 yard per carry average. This is the 4th time this season that both RBs have had at least 4.5 yards per carry in the same game, and the 2nd time they have both had over 5.0 yards per carry in the same game. The run game seems to be going in the right direction for the Packers, a team that has struggled to give their RBs the touches they deserve.
2. It has come to my attention that as off 11:01 am, WR/PR Amari Rodgers was waived by the Packers. This is something Packers fans have been waiting to see since the middle of the season where he struggled mightily. When he was taken by the Packers with the 85th pick in the 2021 draft, there were high hopes for the Clemson WR. Those hopes soon died down very, very fast. Amari struggled to touch the offensive side of the field last year and this year with all the WRs above him in the depth chart playing far better than he was able to when he’s been on the field. But how he played on the offensive side of the ball isn’t what led to him being waived. Amari, in his 1 and a half seasons with the Packers, totaled 8 catches and 7 fumbles. Amari was the highest ranked non QB on the league leaders in fumbles this season with 5, 3 of those coming during the 5 game losing streak. Why Amari was still returning punts with his clear inability to be able to hold onto the ball beats me, but it is something Packers fans no longer have to worry about anymore. I wish Amari good luck on his next team, if there’s one willing to take the risk of signing him.
3. Aaron Rodgers may have played his best game all year and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Being tied 14-14 at half, Rodgers wasn’t having the best of games as he was only 4/6 with 73 yards and a TD. That all changed quickly. In the 2nd half at one point, Rodgers found himself down 14-28 and decided it was his turn to take over. With 13:23 and on 4th and 7, Rodgers lasered a pass to Watson for a TD, following the next drive up with another TD pass to Watson with 2:29 left in the 4th to tie the game at 28. In the 2nd half, Rodgers was able to find his mojo and throw for 151 yards on 10/14 with 2 TDs, which also included a 30 yard strike to Allen Lazard to set up the game winning FG. He had his 3rd highest completion percentage in a game this season, with a 70% completion rate.
1. This was a very sloppy game for the Packers defense. Two early game picks by Rudy Ford both ended with TDs for the Packers and it was looking good. It all went downhill from there. The running game for the Cowboys ran all over the Packers defense, with Tony Pollard having 22 carries for 115 yards and 1 TD and 3rd string back Malik Davis going for 38 rushing yards on only 5 carries. And the pass defense after the 2 picks wasn’t much better. The Packers allowed star WR Ceedee Lamb to go for 150 yards on 11 catches and 2 of those being TDs. Ceedee was open pretty often and DC Joe Barry refused to put Jaire on him for most of the game. Jaire made some big mistakes during the game including letting up a TD to Ceedee but all good CBs make mistakes. There was practically no pressure on Dak during the game, until when clutch time came and Jaire forced a big incompletion and in overtime, Jarran Reed forced Dak prescott to try and throw out of a sack on 4th and 3. Other than that, a relatively sloppy game that will need to get cleaned up fast before the game against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday.
2. Joe Barry remaining the Packers defensive coordinator is somewhat of a shock to many fans. A star studded defense has not played up to the hype they received in the offseason. Now yes, injuries have played a big role in the defenses inability to perform, like Gary and Stokes both being done for the season. But DC Joe Barry is another one of the major reasons this team is struggling. Barry, for some reason, likes to put safety Darnell Savage on the opposing teams WR1s, that being Ceedee Lamb in this case. Why he won’t put Jaire Alexander or Rasual Douglas on the opposing teams WR1 is beyond me, especially considering the fact that both CBs are very capable of guarding and winning matchups vs WR1s. The worst part about it isn’t the fact he wont play man coverage with Jaire on WR1s, but it’s that he plays man while having the CB 5-10 yards away from the WR. Joe Barry keeping his job in the offseason is not something the Packers should let happen if they truly want to contend next year.
The 34 overall pick in this year’s draft class has arrived. In a season where Watson has struggled to remain healthy and stay on the field, Sunday brought the first real opportunity to get a look at the rookie wideout, and it could not have gone better for him. After 2 really early drops, it seemed as if Watson was in for a bad game and oh boy, that could not have been farther from the truth. It was reported Rodgers told Watson after the 2 early drops “The ball is still coming your way, buddy. Let’s get one of these. Let’s make a play.”. And plays were what Watson made. Watson caught 4 balls on 6 targets after the 2 drops with 3 of those going for touchdowns including a 58 yard catch for his first TD, a 39 yard TD on a crucial 4th and 7 for his second TD, and the game tying 7 yard touchdown catch for his third TD of the day. It seems Watson moved on from his early game mistakes very quickly, something that many great WRs possess. Watson is the 24th rookie WR to have 100+ yards and 3 TDs in a game, with some of the other notable rookies to do so being Randy Moss, Jamar Chase, Marvin Harrison, and Micheal Irvin. Watson will look to pick up where he left off vs the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.
While a win is a win, there is a lot the Packers need to capitalize on and a lot that needs to be adjusted. The Packers have a short week to prepare for the Tennessee Titans, a team that has also struggled with injuries. The road to the playoffs has officially restated in Green Bay. And just a reminder, the last time the Packers were 4-6, they won 8 straight games and made the NFC Championship. So anything is possible when you have Aaron Rodgers at QB.