On A-Rod’s Frustrating Greatness, Plus 10 Other Takeaways From The Dallas Cowboys’ Heartbreaking 35-31 Week 5 Loss To The Green Bay Packers.
The Dallas Cowboys’ loss to the Green Bay on Sunday was the result of a combination of things — things we’ve seen too often out of this team this season and things we’ve seen too often out of recent match-ups with the Packers.
It wasn’t that yesterday’s 35-31 home loss was a bad game — it objectively entertaining. It’s just real tough not to be pissed off by the disappointing end-result.
Thing about a loss like this one is that it comes with a whole lot to process. That in mind, here are 11 thoughts I’ve had running through my head since the final whistle blew.
- Just like they did in last week’s game, the Cowboys came out hot in this one — real hot, too. Twenty-one points on the first half? I’ll take it. And I’ll give credit it where it’s due, too: After accuracy issues plaguing his start to this season, Dak mostly looked poised and accurate here. Even he and Dez seemed to be on the same page for once! Well, for the most part. There was that one part where Dez dropped a sure touchdown catch. But he was saved by a phantom late-hit call, and on the very next play, Dak found Beasley for the first of their two touchdown connections on the day. Maybe Dak is finally back on track.
- The offense really tried to get Zeke going early. But that only worked so well: Zeke was pretty much shut out in the early going, collecting 31 yards on his first 16 carries. Fortunately, he was able to gather himself in the second half and would finish the game with 117 yards on 29 carries.
- Five games into the season, here’s something no one could’ve predicted: The Cowboys currently rank in the middle of the pack when it comes to run offense, checking in at 14th in the league. I blame the offensive line. La’el Collins looks like he’s still trying to get used to his new role at right tackle, and most defensive ends are taking advantage of that. And while Dak was only sacked once compared to Aaron Rodgers’ being sacked four times, the Cowboys’ offensive line just doesn’t seem to carry the same weight it used to. It sure doesn’t look like the best O-line in the league anymore, that’s for sure. Maybe we really do miss Ron Leary and the retired Doug Free — even with all the holding penalties Free would give you every game.
- The Cowboys defense is what it is. Up and down. Looks real good one minute, and then the next they’re getting gouged for 36 yards on 3rd and 20. But, hey, David Irving looked good playing his first game back after his four-game suspension. He didn’t out of sorts at all, and collected two early sacks on A-Rod. Tyrone Crawford and Demarcus Lawrence also got a sack each. I’ll give them this, the defensive line puts up numbers.
- The D-line’s pressure helped keep Rodgers in check for a few series. Green Bay countered by focusing on its run game, and rookie running back Aaron Jones was having his way with the Cowboys. The fifth-round pick averaged 6.6 yards a carry, raking in a total of 125 yards. He is now the third running back to gain 100 yards against the Cowboys this season. That’s a significant turn for the worse, since no running back at all had 100 yards against them last season.
- We all have high hopes for Jaylon Smith, but I still feel like its too early on in his development for him to play as much as he does. With Sean Lee out for a second straight game, Smith is being thrust into too big a role. And he’s become a liability, too: Opposing QBs know he can barely run in pass coverage, so they attack him — and they win.
- Dallas and Green Bay both have questionable secondaries that have been riddled with injuries, but a constant bright spot for the Dallas Cowboys this year has been rookie Jourdan Lewis. Here, he led the team with seven tackles and chipped in three deflected passes. He’s looking like a third-round pick well spent, considering he might just be the best cornerback on the team. That’s a relative honor, though. The game-winning touchdown was made on his side…
- Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is now 2-14 against an Aaron Rodgers-led team. Sixteen games and this guy still hasn’t figured anything out? Man.
- Even though the Cowboys were once ahead by 15 points, Green Bay found ways to stick around. And, as the Cowboys defense faltered, they caught back up. Eventually, it was Green Bay’s defense that would give them the lead, though, as a late-game pick six thrown by Prescott put the Packers up 28-24 with 10 minutes remaining in game. The Cowboys responded as one would expect — feeding Zeke, cooking the Green Bay defense with a power offense and killing the clock. It all worked out pretty well, too, with Dak taking a read option into the end zone to give Dallas a 31-28 lead with 1:13 left to play. Too bad that score came about 35 seconds too soon.
- Seventy-three seconds is way too much time to give to Aaron Rodgers when he knows he needs to get into position for a game-tying field goal or to possibly even score a touchdown for the win. It’s not just his arm that’s a problem either. Rodgers uses his arm and his legs — and that’s what makes him such a threat, which the Cowboys saw firsthand as Rodgers scrambled down the sideline for a crucial first down during the Packers’ final possession. The whole thing felt very reminiscent of the Cowboys’ playoff loss to this same Packers team last January — it came right down to the wire and the whole game hinged on Dallas needing a defensive stop. But, while Rodgers seemed fairly contained for some plays on this drive, we all just knew what was coming. Once in striking distance, he looked to Davante Adams in the end zone only to see his pass deflected by Jourdan Lewis. Here, though, is what makes Rodgers so dangerous: He saw what he did wrong on that play, and with no hesitation went right back to that same side with the exact same play, only this time with a better throw. And, last-ditch lateral play from Dallas aside, that was the ballgame. I guess Dak Prescott’s run into the end zone should’ve came 11 seconds later.
- Same shit, different year: Rodgers just always seem to crush the Cowboys in the most devastating ways. It’s become a trend, and I don’t like trends. I’m not sure what needs to change, though. Is it the play-calling? It might be. Listen, I’m not calling for the firing of Jason Garrett and this entire coaching staff just yet, but until this team learns how to hold a lead and how to stop playing like dumpster juice in the second half of every game, the disappointing results aren’t gonna stop.
With any luck, this well-placed upcoming bye week will allow the team to get back on track. Maybe they’ll come back with new tricks up their sleeves?
Here’s hoping. With a 2-3 record, the sky looks to be darkening way too early on this season.