Senior writer jclombardi grades Packers win over Cowboys.
SUMMARY: QB Rodgers threw for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns and RB Jackson scored twice as the Packers crushed the Cowboys 45-7. The Packers defense dominated destroying the Cowboys.
GAME BALLS: LB Matthews; QB Rodgers; LB Bishop; WR Jones; CB Bush; S Collins.
INJURY REPORT: DE Pickett (ankle sprain). CB Harris was released.
QUOTE: After LB Matthews’ interception touchdown, NBC’s game commentator Collinsworth said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen somebody humiliate the Cowboys like this,” We sympathize with the Packers nation who suffered throughout the game with the endless biased Cowboys coverage. Who cares if Phillips got fired? The Packers are America’s team.
Report Card Grades–Good, Bad, & Ugly (JC vs. SE):
PASSING OFFENSE: A vs A-. QB Rodgers had a good day throwing 27 of 34 passes for 289 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Rodgers had good command of the pocket with good protection with all linemen, even LT Clifton and rookie RT Bulaga, playing well. Generally, except for one or two plays. Rodgers established great sync with his receivers using high-percentage short and intermediate throws. WR Jones led the receivers with 8 catches for 123 yards and one touchdown. The spread out offense with quick slants and short-passes to wide-outs game plan destroyed the Cowboys passing defense.
RUSING OFFENSE: B VS B+. The Packers struggled rushing, but they got 128 total yards. FB Kuhn had RB Jackson combined for a tough 92 yards. QB Rodgers scrambled for 48 yards.
PASSING DEFENSE: A- vs A-. Cowboys QB Kitna completed only 19 of 30 passes for 183 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions under constant pressure. The interception highlight was the one returned by LB Matthews for a touchdown. Although rookie CB Shields had a great interception, he struggled covering WR Bryant especially on one big offensive series giving up a touchdown. S Collins got fined $50,000 for his inadvertent helmet-to-helmet hit on WR Williams. Rusty S Bigby got into the game, but we do not see him replacing consistent S Peprah.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A vs A. Led by the front seven line, the rush defense returned to its stout days limiting the Cowboys rushing to 14 rushes for 39 yards averaging a miserable 2.8 average. LB Matthews and LB Bishop dominated the inside rush defense. After LB Matthews stuffed RB Barber on a running plays, the Cowboys simply gave up running the ball.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B+ vs B. Although the kickoff coverage was shaky, they came up with two big turnovers. First, S Collins returned a fumble for a 26 yard touchdown (was the player down?).Then Bush recovered another fumble leading to another score. P Masthay had a good day averaging 49.5 gross yards and 47.5 net yards as the two kicks that landed inside the 20. Yet, K Crosby had a 54 early field goal blocked and his late first half kickoff went out-of-bounds gave good field position to the Cowboys leading to their only score. PR Williams averaged only just 4.4 yards. Rookie KR Shields will return kickoffs, especially after he returned his only one for 49 yards. S Bigby and LB Walden both looked rusty on coverage.
COACHING: A vs A. The Packers had their best game of the year with all three units delivering an outstanding performance. The game plan was solid using the simple spread out offense with 3 or 4 receivers. McCarthy focused upon using an effective running game with 34 rushing plays, employing even the old-school three backs backfield. DC Capers called another great defensive game using LB Matthews, LB Hawk, and CB Woodson on effective combination blitz schemes. The Packers go into the bye week 6-3 at the top of their NFC North division.
OVERALL: A- vs CBS Sportsline A-. The only thing the Packers didn’t do well was cover kickoffs. It was apparent they were up against a team that had no desire to make a game of it, so it’s hard to tell how well they played. The running game was solid and did just enough to keep the Cowboys off balance. The defense caused two turnovers.
COMMENTARY: The Packers are very lucky. GM Thompson did a great job getting replacement and solid backup players, especially from the later rounds in the drafts, the waivers, and free agencies. CB Shields, DE Wilson, S Peprah, LB Zombo, and DE Green really helped the team during a tough injury filled period in the 2010 season. Without them, the Packers would be 3-6 instead of a winning 6-3 record.