Packers score against Cowboys, takeaway: Aaron Rodgers and Christian Watson explode in return to upset Dallas

Packers score against Cowboys, takeaway: Aaron Rodgers and Christian Watson explode in return to upset Dallas

The Packers weren’t expected to win on Sunday, even hosting the Cowboys on their home turf at Lambeau Field. They certainly weren’t expected to win in the fourth quarter, as they trailed 14 points ahead of a Dallas team taking advantage of a CeeDee Lamb breakout. But don’t tell that to Aaron Rodgers, who came to life connecting with rookie Christian Watson to lead Green Bay to an unanswered 17 points and a 31-28 overtime upset, ending the Washingtons’ five-game losing streak. Packers.

Former Packers coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t just on the other sideline to witness the Cowboys’ loss; he played a part in the matter, opting for fourth down on Dallas’ only possession in overtime, rather than trying a field goal from 53 yards to get ahead. But it was Watson who really damaged Team USA on Sunday, scoring three touchdowns and firing several shots deep to give the Packers the home run threat they sorely lacked.

Here are other takeaways from Sunday’s Packers victory, which improved Green Bay to 4-6 and brought Dallas down to 6-3:

Why the Packers won

Someone finally decided to play wrestling with Aaron Rodgers! It turns out that Christian Watson didn’t just do that; he easily burned almost any Cowboys cornerback who tried to contain him. The rookie wasn’t perfect, but he was damn close, finishing with 107 yards and three touchdowns on four catches, giving Green Bay its first real home run threat of the year. His emergence gave Matt LaFleur’s team a fight as they dropped 14 points in the fourth, although Aaron Jones was reliable as usual carrying the offensive charge early. The defense remained vulnerable across the board, but Jaire Alexander had a few clutch breaks working on CeeDee Lamb. The biggest props belong to A-Rod’s unit, however, who finally, in the final minutes and then in OT, showed some of the charisma and confidence befitting a true competitor.

Why the Cowboys lost

No. 1: Dak Prescott, though tough enough to give Dallas a two-point lead in the third, was generally wide off the plate, firing two picks straight into the Packers’ hands out of the gate – misunderstandings or not, they were ugly – and struggling to establish a rhythm in the fourth. No. 2: Dan Quinn’s vaunted “D” barely affected Rodgers; Micah Parsons was a virtual non-factor by his standards, and therefore no one in their secondary could keep up with Watson, even though he was literally the Packers’ only receiver to serve as a consistent threat. Mike McCarthy also injured himself betting in OT, opting to go there on fourth down instead of trying for a 53-yard field goal – a decision that allowed Green Bay to win it with a field goal of their own.

Turning

This must be McCarthy’s fourth call. Tied 28-28 and rolling inside the Packers’ 40 on OT’s first possession, Dallas would have claimed the “W” with a touchdown. A field goal, meanwhile, would have at least guaranteed they’d be alive if the Packers could only get three. On the fourth and third, rather than let Brett Maher go for a 53 kick, McCarthy called a short pass, but Dak Prescott couldn’t connect with Tony Pollard under pressure, and Green Bay quickly got seized the opportunity, moving all the way to the Cowboys’ 20 when Rodgers found Allen Lazard for a 36-yard strike three plays later.

Game of the game

Give it to rookie Watson, whose first TD just breathed a different kind of energy into these Packers on perhaps their biggest night of the season:

And after

The Packers (4-6) will stay at home for Thursday night’s quick turnaround against the Titans (6-3), who edged out the Broncos on Sunday. The Cowboys (6-3), meanwhile, travel to Minnesota for a game against the Vikings (8-1), who upset the Bills in the craziest back-and-forth in Week 10.


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