It seems that Aaron Rodgers always gets the best of the Dallas Cowboys. He has a 5-2 overall record against the team, earning the fifth victory this past Sunday. As expected, it came in a dramatic fashion.
From the start of the game, many fans could tell that it would be a shoot-out. Offensive touchdowns came on both teams’ opening possessions. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott rose to the occasion, much like he did when the teams faced off last year in the Divisional Playoffs; this time, it was Prescott’s team that took a commanding 21-6 lead in the second quarter, compared to when the Packers lead 21-3 in the playoffs. The scoreboard didn’t rattle Rodgers or Green Bay’s offense from attacking a weak Dallas secondary. The Packers rookie running back, Aaron Jones, also made the most of his opportunities, rushing 19 times for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Once the fourth quarter began, it became a heavyweight showdown between Prescott and Rodgers. There were five lead changes in the final 15 minutes, as it seemed neither defense could come up with a stop. If a team is involved in a duel with Aaron Rodgers, they better leave him no time, or strategically keep him out of the end zone.
Rodgers started the quarter with a dart to Jordy Nelson for a 10-yard touchdown to take their first lead of the game. The play-fake on the throw made safety Byron Jones and linebacker Justin Durant “bite” – thinking the Packers were running the ball – leaving Nelson wide open for a 22-21 lead. However, Dallas kept driving down the field, and running back Ezekiel Elliott began to get into a rhythm as the game went along. They retook the lead on a 43-yard Dan Bailey field goal, making the score 24-22.
In an unsung moment of the game, Dallas’s defense got a key stop and got the ball back with a remaining 24-22 lead. If Prescott and the offense scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive, Dallas would have had a two-score lead in the fourth quarter (barring a successful extra point attempt by Bailey). Instead, things went south when a pass went right through receiver Terrance Williams’ hands and into the arms of Packers’ cornerback Damarious Randall who proceeded to take the interception into the end zone along with taking the lead for Green Bay.
Down 28-24, Dallas led a methodical nine-minute drive capped off by an 11-yard touchdown run by Prescott. The Cowboys retook the lead at 31-28 and left Rodgers with 1:13 to tie the game with a field goal or win it with a touchdown.
In a matter of two plays, Green Bay was already across midfield and looking to strike for the game-winner. On a crucial third and eight, Rodgers stepped up in the pocket, evaded two sacks, ran for a first down and made sure to get out of bounds to stop the clock at 21 seconds. If Rodgers had gone down, the field goal unit would’ve had to hurry on the field to tie the game since Green Bay had no timeouts remaining. It was vintage Rodgers, making critical plays in clutch moments. Two downs later, No. 12 found Davante Adams on the left side of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with 11 seconds left.
Rodgers finished the game with 221 yards and three touchdowns, while Prescott threw for 251 and three touchdowns, along with running in for a score. FOX’s game of the week most definitely lived up to expectations again thanks to the performances of these two players.