Game Recap: Packers whip on the Cowboys advancing to the Divisional Playoffs

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Game Recap: Packers whip on the Cowboys advancing to the Divisional Playoffs

Embarrassing the Cowboys in Jerry World, the Packers advance to San Francisco

No one picked the Packers to win this game. Except for maybe Packer fans and those within the confines of 1265 Lombardi Ave. To go into Dallas and dominate the Cowboys on their home field where they haven’t lost in 16 games was unheard of, but this team got it done. Just about everything went right for the Packers in this one. Well, maybe until late in the game, but we’ll save those comments for later.

The Packers’ offense could not be stopped. Aaron Jones had his way with the Dallas rushing defense to the tune of 118 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns. Jordan Love fell only 1.1 points short of a perfect quarterback rating with his 272-yard three-touchdown performance, and how about Romeo Doubs with a huge game, catching all six of his targets for 151 yards and a touchdown? Whatever Matt LaFleur dialed up for this offense this week I hope is carried into next because it was absolutely dominant. 

The defense held Dallas to only 7 points in the first half and those seven points came in the final seconds of the first half. Essentially, that play shouldn’t have happened as a Cowboys lineman had a false start on the play which should’ve negated the play and ended the half, but it happened anyway. Still a good showing for the defense as they tamed the Prescott-to-Lamb connection in the first half as well as forced two huge interceptions that helped this game get out of hand quickly. 

Let’s get to the recap:

First Quarter:

The Packers won the coin toss and elected to receive to start this playoff game. Opening the game from their own 25-yard line, the Packers offense got off to a slow start the first two plays not getting anywhere with an Aaron Jones run before an illegal contact penalty on Dallas took them five yards forward. Two plays later Jordan Love hit Romeo Doubs for 22-yards to midfield. Several plays later Aaron Jones began to take over with four runs totaling 25 yards down to the Dallas 19-yard line giving the Packers their first trip to the red-zone. The Packers’ offense was able to move further inside the 10 mainly via two passes between Tucker Kraft and Luke Musgrave before on 3rd and 2, Aaron Jones took the handoff to the right and pushed his way into the endzone for the Packers’ touchdown. Following the Anders Carlson extra point, the Packers would take the lead 7-0 on a long drive with 7:08 remaining in the first quarter. 

With the Cowboys taking over for their first drive at their own 24-yard line, they ran two straight handoffs totaling 7 yards before Dak Prescott took off on an 18-yard scramble to midfield. Later, facing 3rd and 8 from the GB 49, Prescott barely missed Ceedee Lamb up the middle on a pass off his fingertips setting up fourth down where the Cowboys would punt it away. A flag would be thrown for fair catch interference on the return setting up the Packers at their own 24-yard line to start their second drive with 3:55 remaining in the 1st quarter. Jayden Reed may have gotten away with a bit of a flop, but my Packers brain says rules are rules, he still touched him, 15 yards in the Packers’ favor.  

Starting their second drive, an incompletion and a short Aaron Jones run would set up 3rd and 9 where Jordan Love would hit Romeo Doubs again for a drive-saver on a 26-yard pass to midfield. A short Emmanuel Wilson run, and another incompletion would set up 3rd and 9 again from the Dallas 48 where Love would seemingly get rid of the ball toward Jayden Reed. Elgton Jenkins would be flagged for holding on the play, but the penalty would be declined bringing in Daniel Whelan for his first punt in two weeks. Whelan would pin the Cowboys at their own 8-yard line where they’d take over with 1:26 remaining in the first. 

Beginning this next drive deep in their own territory, the Dallas offense would take a shot on first down but miss deep to Brandin Cooks. On third down Jaire Alexander would pick off Dak Prescott at the DAL 19-yard line with the Packers taking over with 43 seconds left in the first.  

On first down Aaron Jones would take a screen pass 13 yards to the Dallas 6-yard line. On 1st and goal Tucker Kraft would be called for holding backing up the Packers’ offense 10 yards to the 16-yard line. That is where the first quarter would end. 

Second Quarter:

The Packers offense would kick off the 2nd quarter with 1st and goal from the Dallas 16-yard line after the holding call. On that first down, Jordan Love would hit Romeo Doubs up the middle for 15 yards to the Dallas 1-yard line where Aaron Jones would pound it into paydirt for a second time taking the Packers’ lead to 14-0 with 14:15 remaining in the second quarter.  

Beginning their first drive of the second quarter from their own 14-yard line, Dallas got off to a good start with an 11-yard run by Tony Pollard and picked off another first down on a third down swing pass to Dowdle for 4 yards to the DAL 37. Two plays later Prescott would hit Ferguson for 22 yards up the middle to the GB 41-yard line. After two more plays, Dallas was faced with third down and Dak Prescott would be flushed out of the pocket before Keisean Nixon would sack him for a loss of 6 yards forcing the Cowboys to punt again.  

Following the punt, the Packers offense would take over from their own 5-yard line with 9:07 remaining in the first half. After a Tucker Kraft 10-yard catch to the GB 26 the Packers would get their first first down of the drive. On that first down, Jordan Love would hit Romeo Doubs and Doubs would scamper for a 39-yard gain to the Dallas 35-yard line. On third down 2 plays later Love would hit Luke Musgrave who would toe-tap in bounds for another first down to the Dallas 28. A few plays later facing 3rd and 7, Jordan Love hit Dontayvion Wicks right up the middle for a 20-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, we can’t have nice things at least once a game as Anders Carlson would hit the upright on the extra point. The score would rise to 20-0 Packers, with 3:23 remaining in the half. Love with a great pass where only Wicks could get it giving the Packers a commanding lead. 

The Cowboys would take over at their own 25 and in three plays get a first down with the clock running on the half. Dallas would then drive through the air with several passes getting down to the GB 40-yard line where we’d hit the two-minute warning. On the very first play following the clock stoppage Dak Prescot would throw an interception straight to Darnell Savage and Savage would take it the distance. Touchdown Packers and they would go up 27-0 with 1:50 remaining in the half. 

Dallas would get a big kick return from Turpin 47 yards to the Dallas 45-yard line where they’d start the drive with 1:43 remaining in the half. On the first play, Quay Walker would be called on a phantom horse collar tackle. Walker had him by the shoulder not the collar, but 15 yards in Dallas’ favor to the GB 37. Dallas would then drive down to the GB 10 before taking a timeout with 23 seconds remaining. On first down, Dak Prescott nearly threw his 3rd INT to DeVondre Campbell, but Campbell couldn’t hang on. Two plays later Prescott hit Ceedee Lamb to the GB 1 for the first down and with 2 seconds left on the clock after an incompletion, Prescott hit Jake Ferguson for a touchdown as time expired.  

The Packers would head into the locker room up 27-7 with Dallas receiving the ball after halftime. 

Third Quarter:

Kicking off their first drive of the second half at their own 25 following the kick return, Prescott hit Lamb for 13 yards to the DAL 37. On third down, Dak Prescott scrambled and was stopped short of the first down, but Kenny Clark would be called for a facemask continuing to give Dallas life to the Packers’ 40-yard line. Two plays later facing third down Prescott would hit Lamb again and Lamb would make a good spin for the first down to the GB 27. The Packers stood up on 1st and second down following and then facing 3rd and 10 from the GB 16, Preston Smith batted down the Dak Prescott pass setting up fourth down and Dallas would attempt a 34-yard field goal nailing it to take the score to 27-10 Packers with 9:23 remaining in the 3rd.  

Starting their first drive of the second half from their own 25, the Packers would get a first down after two Aaron Jones runs totaling 12 yards. Then on first down when it seemed like the Packers had a broken play with Aaron Jones running into Jordan Love, Love showed his calm demeanor sailing a pass to Romeo Doubs for 46 yards to the Dallas 17-yard line. Two plays later Aaron Jones got in the endzone for a third time taking a nine-yard run across the goal line for the touchdown. Following the extra point, the Packers would go up 34-10 with 6:38 remaining in the 3rd quarter.  

Taking over at their own 12 following a holding call on the kickoff, the Cowboys would get 8 yards off a pass to Tony Pollard, and McDuffie would be shaken up on the play. Two plays later, Prescott would hit Michael Gallup for a gain of 42 to the GB 35. A play later, Jaire Alexander would go down hurt as well, not good for the Packers regardless of the outcome of this game so far. Several plays later, the Cowboys would face 3rd and 1 where Tony Pollard would push his way to the first down at the GB 13-yard line. On second down Preston Smith would jump offsides giving Dallas 2nd and 5 from the 8-yard line where Dak Prescott would get the first down on a scramble to the GB 2. On the next play, Prescott threw an incompletion, but Kingsley Enagbare was called for holding pushing Dallas closer to the goal line. On the next play, Tony Pollard would push his way into the endzone, and Dallas would go for two converting it, but a flag would be thrown for pass interference negating the attempt. Dallas would instead have to kick the extra point but would miss it as the kick would hit the upright making the score 34-16 with 3:03 remaining in the 3rd quarter.  

Following the kickoff, the Packers would take over at their own 25. Aaron Jones would pick up a first down on the first play with a 10-yard run. The following play Jones punished Dallas again with a 27-yard run to the Dallas 38, and on the very next play Jordan Love boot-legged to his left and found Luke Musgrave wide open for the 38-yard touchdown. Following the successful extra point, the Packers lead would swell to 25 with them up 41-16 with 1:27 remaining in the 3rd quarter. What a response to Dallas’ score as the Packers continue to keep their foot on the gas in this game.  

After the kickoff, the Cowboys would take over again at their own 25. They’d hit Jake Ferguson right away for a first down which the play would be challenged and stand, 11-yard gain for Ferguson. Dallas would run a few more plays to the DAL 41 and going for it on 4th and 5 Dak Prescott threw up a prayer into the abyss with no one around. Packers would take over on downs and the 3rd quarter would expire.

Fourth Quarter:

After the ball was turned over on downs, the Packers offense would take over at the Dallas 41-yard line to begin the 4h quarter. On the first play of the drive, Aaron Jones took off on a run 19 yards to the DAL 21. This is when Jerry World began to hear Go Pack Go chants with the Packers running down the clock in scoring range. Three Emmanuel Wilson runs later, the Packers had another first down to the DAL 11-yard line. After getting as far as the Dallas 3-yard line on Wilson’s runs, the Packers lined up to go for it on 4th down and Jordan Love found Romeo Doubs in the endzone for the touchdown. Packers up 48-16 with 10:23 remaining in the game.  

Dallas would get the ball again down 32 and take over at their own 25. Essentially garbage time would take off and Dallas would get into Packer’s territory with 9:30 remaining on the clock. Five plays later Dallas would get down to the Packers’ 3-yard line. On 2nd down Lukas Van Ness would sack Dak Prescott for a loss of 5 before Prescott would hit Jake Ferguson in the endzone for the touchdown. Dallas would line up for another 2-point conversion and would convert. The score goes to 48-24 Packers with 5:54 remaining in the game. Basically, a score no one cared about at the time as this one was out of hand with the Packers keeping some starters off the field. 

With the Packers hopping on the onside kick, the Packers would take over at midfield with Sean Clifford at QB since the game is out of reach. After a false start on Royce Newman, the Packers would go backward before running the ball with Patrick Taylor three times mainly just running the clock. The Packers would line up to punt for only the second time today and the Cowboys would take over after the punt at their own 9 with 4:49 remaining in the game.  

Two plays in, Prescott would hit Lamb for a 47-yard gain to the GB 33. After the first play, tempers would flare with TJ Slaton catching a personal foul giving Dallas a free 15 yards. The next play Prescott would hit Ferguson again for the touchdown, and Dallas would convert on the two-point try again making this a two-score game, the Packers up 48-32 with 3:25 remaining. 

Dallas would kick another onside attempt and the Packers would hop on it taking over at Dallas’ 44-yard line. The Packers would put Jordan Love and Aaron Jones back in with the game suddenly in reach again. Dallas would spend their final timeout after an Aaron Jones run. One more run and the Packers would face 3rd and 7 from the Dallas 41. Love would pass the ball to Tucker Kraft but it would fall incomplete stopping the clock and the Packers would punt it away. 

Dallas would then take over again with 2:22 remaining in the game from their own 8-yard line. Prescott would hit Cooks for an 18-yard gain to the DAL 26 and that’s where we’d reach the two-minute warning. Dallas drove through the air down to their 44 where they’d face 3rd and 3 and would convert on an 8-yard Cooks catch. Several plays later Dak Prescott would launch a prayer on 4th and 8 but would not convert, the Packers would take over on downs. 

The Packers would take a knee and wind out the clock to win this one 48-32 advancing to the divisional round of the playoffs.  

Offensive Player of the Game:

Aaron Jones achieves this honor for yet another week. Something about playing in Dallas, close to his hometown of El Paso ignites Aaron Jones and tonight was no different. Jones had 21 carries for 118 yards and three touchdowns as well as 1 catch for 13 yards. Jones is the electricity in the veins of this Packers offense. The rest of the team without question builds off his success and even I want to run through a wall for Aaron Jones this season. Onward we go with 33 leading the way. 

Defensive Player of the Game:

This could’ve gone to several players but I feel like Darnell Savage’s pick-six made this blowout more real. Dallas had a chance to perhaps make it a 13-point game with 2nd and 2 at the GB 40, but Prescott threw to Ceedee Lamb and Savage jumped right in front of the pass taking it the distance. The score would hit 27-0 Packers and the route was on. Granted the game got closer later, that pick-six seemed to be the dagger to the heart of the Cowboys. So this award is going to Darnell Savage. 

What Went Right:

Everything. Can I say that? Because it’s almost true.

Romeo Doubs stepping up with Dallas holding Jayden Reed to no production. Doubs delivered where Reed couldn’t and that was huge.

The offensive line paved roads for Aaron Jones to dance down, and they kept Jordan Love upright against a very good Dallas pass rush. Love wasn’t sacked once and was only hit three times.

What Went Wrong:

Anders Carlson’s extra point miss seems to be a right of passage for every game. I always respond in my recap that it’s why we “can’t have nice things.” I just hope it doesn’t end up costing us down the road.

Perhaps we let up and played soft too soon. This one didn’t have to get so close later, but it did. Dallas has an explosive offense and perhaps starting to play soft and pull starters with 6 minutes remaining wasn’t the best call, but alas, we still won it. Just can’t let that happen and bite us. 

Looking Forward:

At the time I write this recap, we don’t know yet when we will be traveling to San Francisco. Of course, I have plans that I will have to adjust no matter the day. I didn’t see this playoff run coming but I am not at all complaining. As we look toward the match-up in San Francisco I have to start by saying, it had to be the 49ers. Dallas can’t seem to beat the Packers to save their lives in the postseason lately. And well, the Packers haven’t been able to solve the 49ers in the postseason. But hey, it’s a new era in Green Bay and anything can happen as we saw today. San Francisco is almost a complete team. The Packers will have to be on their game like they were today if they wish to defeat San Francisco. As we saw today, the Packers can get it done if they want, hopefully, they can do the same and shock the world next week as well. Until then, Go Pack Go.

Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to CheeseheadTV as well as PackersTalk. Follow him on Twitter @gmeinholz for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.