Without receiver Davante Adams at AT&T Stadium Sunday, the Green Bay offense needed a spark, a playmaker.
Aaron Jones stepped up in a huge way—especially in the red zone—with a career day that include a team record-tying four rushing touchdowns (18, 3, 5, 1 yards) in a stunning 34-24 victory.
The third-year pro from Texas-El Paso slashed and dashed through the Dallas defense for 182 total yards on 26 touches: 107 yards rushing on 19 carries and seven receptions for 75 more. He had a contingent of family and friends watching in the stands, and even tossed a football their way after scoring one of his four rushing touchdowns—the most ever given up in a game by a Dallas team in franchise history.
“Yeah, he was running well,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said in his post-game press conference. “It was his typical style: slasher, cut backs, breaking tackles. I thought it was a great game for him. He was obviously the hot hand, got a lot of touches down in the red zones, and finished those off nicely.”
He sure did, a welcome change from the frustration of the Philadelphia loss at home where the Green Bay offense failed to score inside the Eagles’ 5-yard twice passing the football.
The Packers bolted out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, and expanded the margin to 24-0 and 31-3 by the end of three quarters before quarterback Dak Prescott led his team on a furious final quarter comeback that fell short.
Jerry Jones may be the team owner, but Aaron Rodgers has owned the Cowboys on their home turf in the past decade. Rodgers now possesses a sterling 7-2 record against Dallas in the stadium referred to as the “House that Jerry built.”
Green Bay, 4-1, is alone atop the NFC North Division standings, as the Chicago Bears were upset by the Oakland Raiders in London. Chicago and Minnesota are tied for third with 3-2 records while the 2-1-1 Detroit Lions were on a bye.
“Our defense came up big, especially in the first half, in those critical moments just to keep points off the scoreboard,” head coach Matt LaFleur said. “It allowed us to get a little bit of a lead, but again, there’s a lot to improve upon.”
LaFleur said turnovers—three interceptions—were the difference in the game.
“When you’re plus-three in the turnover margin, pretty good chance you’re going to come out victorious,” he said.
In a losing cause, Dallas’ Amari Cooper had a monster game, torching the Green Bay secondary for 226 yards on 11 catches. He averaged a whopping 20.5-yards per reception and burned Jaire Alexander on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to close within 34-24 midway through fourth quarter.
For three quarters of the game, the Packers defense was outstanding. Linebacker Za’Darius Smith battled through injuries to spearhead a defense that harassed Prescott and intercepted him three times as Green Bay built an insurmountable 31-3 lead late in the third quarter. He recorded two sacks, four quarterback hits, and three total tackles as the Packers totaled three sacks in the game.
Mason Crosby is not paid to make tackles, but he put his body on the line making a tackle on a kickoff in the first quarter. The veteran kicker took a shot to the hip on the tackle but that did not faze him as he kicked two field goals and four extra points in the game to total 10 points. Crosby’s 20-yarder in the second quarter gave Green Bay a 17-0 lead and his 38-yarder with 8:07 remaining made it 34-17.
Rodgers also discussed his team’s chemistry this season.
“We’re a more connected team. . . we enjoy each other,” he said. “I think guys really play for each other. . . we have the chemistry and leadership.”
Green Bay hosts Detroit at Lambeau Field next Monday night. Detroit has won last four meetings (last accomplished by Lions in 1982-83) and outscored Packers 127-51.