The Green Bay Packers finally end the pain, beating the Dallas Cowboys 31-28 in overtime. Here are four thoughts on the team as they head into their short week for Thursday Night Football
1. Sunday was Aaron Rodgers’ best game by far of the season
For the first time all season, the Green Bay Packers had the Aaron Rodgers we all thought we were getting for a full game (plus overtime!). The 4-time MVP was in control of the game and had total control of the pulse of the game.
Who knows whether it means the Green Bay Packers are in place for a run or if this was a dead cat bounce brought on by seeing old friend Mike McCarthy on the opposing sideline, but Rodgers looked sharp and had it all working on Sunday.
Rodgers was making throws in the short, intermediate, and deep thirds of the field. And honestly, he probably should have had another 100 yards of passing if a few more plays went the Green Bay Packers’ way.
With all the handwringing over his decision-making and play the past few weeks, it was great to see THAT version of Rodgers still exists. What it means for the rest of this Green Bay Packers season remains to be seen.
2. Rookie Christian Watson came through when it mattered most
To say Christain Watson has had an uneven rookie is the understatement of the year. Be it unfortunate drops or injuries, Watson’s season had been a series of “what-ifs”…until Sunday.
No, Watson’s Sunday did not start well, dropping a pair of passes that stunted the first Green Bay Packers drive. However, Watson would begin his road to redemption on the team’s 4th drive. After being set up by a redzone interception, Watson would get the Green Bay Packers on the board with the team’s longest play of the season, a 58-yard receiving touchdown.
Watson again displayed his game-breaking speed, running right by Cowboys starting CB Anthony Brown and showing the innate ability to adjust to the ball in mid-air. Watson’s day was just getting started.
After starting the 2nd half dubiously by being late to find the ball on another downfield shot play, Watson would bring the Green Bay Packers back to within a TD. He broke free on a Deep Over when the Green Bay Packers went for it on 4th down and hauled in a perfectly placed pass by Rodgers before running away from the Cowboy defenders.
Watson would then tie the game late in the 4th Quarter, this time on a shallow cross where he simply ran away from his defender and Rodgers again put the ball on Watson perfectly.
Watson became the first Green Bay Packers rookie to catch 3 TDs in a single game since some guy named James Lofton did so in 1978.
Sunday showed why LaFleur and Rodgers have continued to talk up Watson all season long and Sunday showed that the best is yet to come for the uber-athletic rookie. As long as he can stay on the field, Watson will continue to tilt the field for the Green Bay Packers.
3. Rudy Ford and the reshuffled secondary made plays all game
The Green Bay Packers finally saw the light and made some adjustments in their defensive backfield. Ok, we all know the truth is DC Joe Barry was forced to make changes due to Eric Stokes going on IR this week.
While much of the talk going into the game was S Darnell Savage moving to the Nickel (where he had a solid game in coverage), it was Special Teamer Rudy Ford who supplied the Green Bay Packers with the game-breaking plays that turned the tide for the home team.
Ford recorded two INTs, the first coming in the redzone to end a Dallas drive, that the Green Bay Packers offense was able to convert for two TD in the first half.
Not only did Ford supply the team with splash plays, but he brought the physicality he usually provides the team’s special teams with to make numerous tackles on the edges from safety depth and helped keep the Green Bay Packers ahead of the sticks.
The Green Bay Packers secondary looked much more coherent in this configuration as players were in roles that better fit their skill sets. Rasul Douglas looks so much more comfortable playing on the perimeter and Darnell Savage looked much more decisive and confident playing up closer to the line of scrimmage.
4. Can they build off this for Thursday Night?
The Green Bay Packers face a quick turnaround this week as they play the Titans on Thursday Night Football. Fans will need to tune into Amazon Prime Video to see whether the team is able to use the momentum and vibes to secure its 5th win of the season.
The Green Bay Packers are on life support in terms of playoff hopes but Sunday’s win gave them a chance. We’ll see if that sparks them for a run or whether it was simply a matter of showing some pride after a 5-game losing streak.