3. A new defensive star has also emerged.
Defensively, the Packers moved starting safety Darnell Savage into the corner of the nickel defense and inserted Rudy Ford in his place at safety.
All Ford did was intercept two passes, both of which preceded Green Bay’s touchdowns in the first half.
His first pick came just three snaps after Rodgers fumbled on a sack, giving the Cowboys a first and a goal at the 10-yard line, looking to add to a 7-0 lead. On third down, Ford cut past tight end Dalton Schultz at the goal line for the pick and a 34-yard return.
“Any time you take points away from the opposition, it’s a big moment,” LaFleur said.
Then on Dallas’ next possession, another Prescott pass down the middle found Ford’s arms, and another 34-yard return put the Packers up 14-7 on a 12-yard run from Aaron Jones.
“He’s playing with a lot of speed,” LaFleur said of Ford, a waiver request from Jacksonville at the time of the roster reduction that made his way from a special team member to a regular defensive role. . “You can feel his speed there, and he’s also physical.”
4. A change was made to special teams, and the defense came up late.
With the score tied at 14 in the third quarter, punt returner Amari Rodgers fumbled for the fifth time this season (second lost), and the turnover changed all of the Cowboys’ momentum.
Dallas scored in four plays on a 13-yard run from Tony Pollard (22 carries, 115 yards), had a three-and-out, then scored again in seven on a 35-yard touchdown by receiver Cee Dee Lamb (11 catches, 150 yards, two touchdowns) to go up 28-14.
Kickoff returner Keisean Nixon became the Packers’ punt returner for the remainder of the game.
Green Bay’s defense also changed for the better, stopping Dallas on multiple possessions in the fourth quarter and on the first down in overtime.
Two Prescott misses (27 of 46, 265 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions, 78.6 rating) on third-and-third and fourth-and-third on the Green Bay 35, as Dallas disallowed a long field goal, returned the ball to the Packers for their game-winning drive.
5. The tiebreak in OT had been in the works all night, but there’s no time to celebrate.
Green Bay fell short late in regulation to get a first down with a chance to win, a drive that upset Rodgers and LaFleur, but they cashed in with another shot.
Needing only a field goal to win, the Packers faced third-and-1 of their 44. By then, the offense had traveled the ball over 200 yards – Jones had 138 rushing yards on 24 carries in all, with AJ Dillon adding 65 yards on 13 attempts – which allowed Allen Lazard to work brilliantly.
The Lazard defender fell at the line of scrimmage, and he split midfield after the short reception for a 36-yard gain to get within reach.
“We had kind of set that up for a while throughout the game and it just wasn’t there, wasn’t there, wasn’t there,” Rodgers said. “Allen and I had a conversation on the sidelines and we felt like if we came back to this game he had a chance to be there and he’s pretty competent on that path.”
Another run from Jones for 5 yards, plus a face mask penalty, put the ball inside the 10. Rodgers took a knee – leaving the team at 207 yards in total – to put the ball in the middle of the field, and Mason Crosby was good from 28 yards on almost seven minutes in OT.
The Packers kept their season alive going 4-6 but again have an equally critical task in just four days, Thursday Night Football against Tennessee (6-3) at Lambeau.
“In our world, it’s Wednesday, so we have to flip the script quickly,” LaFleur said, “because we have a damn good football team coming here.”
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