The Green Bay Packers pulled off a major upset by beating the Dallas Cowboys 48-32 in Dallas. Jordan Love threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns while Aaron Jones ran for 118 yards and three scores. The 48 points tied the franchise record for most points scored in a postseason game which was set during the 2010 playoffs in Atlanta. Green Bay advances to the divisional round of the playoffs next Saturday when they will take on the top-seeded San Francisco 49ers for a berth in the NFC Championship Game. Here are 10 things we learned from the Packers 48-32 win over the Cowboys.
First Thing We Learned in the Packers Win: Jordan Love Was Equal to the Moment
Love was not intimidated by the playoff stage or by more than 90,000 Cowboys fans inside the dome. He was in control the entire game and nearly had a perfect passer rating until the final incomplete pass he threw late in the game.
The Utah State alum did a great job of reading defenses and finding the open man. When the Cowboys put pressure on him, he found a checkdown receiver or threw long to the vacated area. Love made the right decisions and executed them extremely well.
He finished the game 16-of-21 for 272 yards and three touchdowns for a 157.2 passer rating.
With each passing game, Love is removing any remaining doubts and continues to show he is the Packers quarterback of the future.
Second Thing We Learned: Aaron Jones Owns the Cowboys
Jones went to UTEP and grew up rooting for the Cowboys. He raises his game whenever he faces Dallas, and this game was no exception.
Jones gained 118 yards on 21 carries and caught one pass for 13 more. He scored three touchdowns in the game.
The Packers are a young team, especially on offense. Jones is one of the few skill position players with playoff experience. He added leadership to his outstanding performance and now has rushed for more than 100 yards in the last four games the Packers have played. Not surprisingly, Green Bay won all four.
Third Thing We Learned in the Packers Win: The Defense Did a Great Job Early
Joe Barry’s much-maligned defense did a great job in the first half and shut down the potent Dallas attack until the Packers had built a commanding lead.
The Packers managed to force two turnovers in the first half and put enough pressure on Dak Prescott to limit Dallas to one score on the final play before halftime.
Barry mixed his coverages between different types of zones and occasional man-to-man and prevented Prescott from getting into a rhythm.
Unfortunately, the defense got very conservative with a big lead. The Cowboys made the final score closer than the game looked by scoring two touchdowns in the final six minutes of the game.
By then, the Packers led 48-16 and the game was out of reach.
Fourth Thing We Learned: The Offense Set the Tone on the First Drive
The Packers won the toss and elected to receive. This turned out to be a smart decision by Matt LaFleur because the opening drive set the tone for the entire game.
The Packers drove 75 yards on 12 plays and held onto the ball for 7:52. That means they held the ball for more than half of the first quarter before the Cowboys offense even took the field. In fact, the Packers took the lead on the first drive and never trailed or were even tied after that.
The Packers ran the ball eight times and threw only four with Jones getting seven carries and Emanuel Wilson getting the other.
The Cowboys knew then that the Packers could move the ball on them, and they were not in for an easy game. They never fully recovered.
Fifth Thing We Learned in the Packers Win: Turnovers Were Critical
The Packers won the turnover battle 2-0 and both were critical plays in the game. With the Packers up 7-0 late in the first quarter, Jaire Alexander stepped in front of a Prescott pass intended for Brandin Cooks. Alexander made the interception and gave the Packers the ball at the Dallas 19.
Four plays later, Jones ran for his second touchdown of the game and the Packers were ahead 14-0. The home crowd got silent after the Packers doubled their lead.
The second interception of the game was even more dramatic. With the Packers ahead 20-0, Dallas got the ball with 3:23 left in the half. Dallas had a chance to score late in the first half and again after they received the second half kickoff to make it a one-score game.
The Cowboys started to move the football reached the Green Bay 40. But safety Darnell Savage baited Prescott and stepped in front of CeeDee Lamb before running the pick back 64 yards for a touchdown. The Packers led 27-0 and the crowd and the home team were both stunned.
Sixth Thing We Learned: Romeo Doubs Stepped Up His Game
The Packers have receivers by committee, and it seems every game, a different player steps up. In this game, it was Romeo Doubs who stood out the most.
The second-year man out of Nevada caught six passes on six targets for 151 yards and a touchdown. This was the first 100-yard receiving game of Doubs’ career and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Doubs did a great job of finding the soft spot in the Cowboys zone, especially in the middle of the field. No other Green Bay receiver had more than three catches and 52 yards as Love threw to seven different receivers during the game.
Doubs came through with his best career performance in the biggest game of his career so far.
Seventh Thing We Learned in the Packers Win: The Packers Offensive Line Shined
The Green Bay offensive line has improved as the season progressed and they also gave the team a strong performance in Dallas.
They contained Micah Parsons, the Cowboys most feared pass rusher who finished the game with no sacks and one quarterback hit.
In fact, the Dallas defense never sacked Love and recorded only three hits all game.
The offensive line also did a good of opening holes for the running game as the Packers gained 143 yards on the ground. The Pack averaged 4.3-yards per carry which included a kneel down by Love on the final play of the game.
Eighth Thing We Learned: The Defense Contained CeeDee Lamb
If you look at the final stats, Lamb caught nine passes for 110 yards in this game. But almost all of those catches and yards came in garbage time when the Packers played a loose zone designed to force Dallas to use up the clock while completing short passes.
The Packers held Lamb, who led the NFL with 135 catches this season, to just two catches for 18 yards in the first half. Prescott targeted him seven times in the half but couldn’t get him the ball consistently.
For the game, Prescott targeted Lamb 17 times, but the Packers held him in check while the outcome was still in doubt.
Ninth Thing We Learned in the Packers Win: The Packers Got Pressure on Dak Prescott
The Packers defense used different blitz combinations and put enough pressure on Prescott to impact the game. Pressure played a role in the two interceptions and forced Prescott to make some errant throws on third down that ended Dallas drives.
The Pack finished the game with four sacks with De’Vondre Campbell, Nixon, Lukas Van Ness, and Preston Smith each recording one. The Packers also made nine quarterback hits with eight different players recording one and Kingsley Enagbare adding two.
Tenth Thing We Learned in the Packers Win: Bring on the 49ers
This young Packers team has at least one more game to play. They will head to Northern California next Saturday to face the top seed in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers.
The Packers have already proven when they play their game, they can beat any team in the league. This team hasn’t been phased by the pressure of playoff football despite their inexperience.
Again, the Pack has nothing to lose as they face the 49ers and they will gain more valuable playoff experience, win or lose.
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