It’s been a week since the Green Bay Packers dispatched the Dallas Cowboys, in Dallas. There was no shortage of euphoria to go around among Packers Nation. For some, this win solidified the Packers as Super Bowl contenders. There is much to be impressed by, but I say pump your brakes.
The Packers got out to a 31-3 lead. (Part of that formula I discussed on Quick TO:SS.) The offensive line for the Packers, dominated the defensive line of the Cowboys. Aaron Rodgers had good protection, but it wasn’t really necessary. (What?!) The run blocking the line provided for running back, Aaron Jones, was all the offense needed. 182 total yards and four rushing touchdowns by Jones, had him waving at defenders and declaring Jerry World to be his house. (And he’s right.) For as impressive as the ground display was, there were things that weren’t so pretty.
After jumping out to a 31-3 lead, Green Bay forced Dallas to play catch up. They’d accomplished what they wanted to do; put the ball in Dak Prescott’s hands and force him to win the game for the Cowboys. (As I said on Quick TO:SS, this is what you’d happily take your chances on.) Dak nearly pulled it off.
Amari Cooper proved to be Prescott’s favorite target in this game, as he amassed over 200 receiving and multiple touchdowns. Cooper doesn’t get the respect for how accomplished a route runner he is. He burned Packers cornerback, Jaire Alexander, multiple times for big gains and touchdowns. (Rough day for him, but that’s what Cooper does to most.)
Dallas pulled to within 10 points of Green Bay (34-24), before a missed field goal late in the fourth quarter sealed their fate. Green Bay didn’t win the game, so much as they escaped.
It wasn’t all pretty (as I mentioned on TO:SS ), but a win is a win. For all the sacks and turnovers the defense created, they gave up their fair share of big plays and points. For all the rushing offense created, the Packers offense stalled at critical times. (Some credit goes to the Dallas defense.)
My point is; this squad is still improving. I am not ready to crown them anything. Make no mistake about it, Matt LaFleur and his coaching staff are doing a terrific job. They game plan to exploit weaknesses, not force what they do best into a game plan. Mike Pettine on defense continues his stellar ways. (To the point his name has come up as a candidate for the Washington head coach job.) Still, there is much left to be desired.
At 4-1 and on top of the NFC North, the Packers have proven to be a surprise. No one had them penciled in at this mark, after 5 weeks. Yet here they are. The scariest and most exciting part of it is, they aren’t even playing their best ball yet. Pump the brakes on their coronation, but don’t do the same on their ascension.