Packers 26, Cowboys 21: Game Balls and Lame Calls

Davante Adams

Game Balls

QB Aaron Rodgers

After a slow start and with limited mobility, Rodgers was 15-20, over 200 yards and two touchdown passes in the second half.  The Packers entered the fourth quarter down by one and came back to win.  What’s that you say?  Not only a fourth quarter rally to win but in the postseason for #12?  Skip Bayless be darned.  I’ll be he looks great in that Packers garb today!

Rodgers is the heart and soul of this team and proves it in more ways every week.  Perhaps the calf loosened up in the second half, as he was able to move around a bit and extend plays.  The touchdown throw to Richard Rodgers was probably one of the best throws I’ve seen any quarterback make.  The scary thing is, Rodgers has made that same throw before.

He’s rare and he’s ours.  Against the Seattle Seahawks, the Packers will need every bit of magic he has left if they want a free trip to Glendale, Arizona.

LB/DL Julius Peppers

Peppers was one of the guys I called on to step up and be a factor in this game.  He has the “C” on his jersey for a reason.  After making a bit of a splash early in the year, Peppers had been quiet leading into the last game of the season.  He had two tackles for a loss against the Lions and came up big against Dallas.  Peppers had a sack and caused a fumble on Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray that could have gone for long yardage.  Peppers also nearly tipped a Tony Romo pass that would have negated a pass interference call on the Packers.

The playoffs are all about elevating and doing a bit more when it’s needed most.  Some say Peppers turns it up when he wants to and he’ll need to want to this week against Seattle.  Up to this point, I’d say that acquiring Peppers has been worth every penny in 2014.

WR Davante Adams

Adams had a break out game against the New England Patriots and had entrenched himself as another go-to guy for Aaron Rodgers.  Since then, however, Adams and Rodgers haven’t always been on the same page and he’s had a few drops.  Many were starting to wonder if Adams was headed down a similar road that Jarrett Boykin seems to have traveled and if he could climb back to a good place within the Packers offense.

Enter Sunday when Adams found another gear.  11 targets, seven catches, 117 yards, all game high’s.  Adams shook defenders on multiple occasions to get some valuable yards after the catch and none prettier than his 46-yard touchdown run.  After making the catch, Adams absolutely juked Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox out of his shoes and scampered into the end zone to bring the Packers within one point of the lead.  It’s plays like this that Adams had regularly at Fresno State and the reason why the Packers used a second round pick on him.  It takes a bit of swagger to do what Adams did on that catch & run and we have to hope that Adams continues to gain confidence within the offense, both this year and beyond.

Mike McCarthy

Facing a fourth down with four minutes to go, Romo threw a jump ball toward Dez Bryant that resulted in what looked like a catch and down at the one-yard line.  The ball did pop loose at the end of the play and Bryant brought it back in while on his back.  It was initially ruled a catch.  McCarthy challenged the ruling, stating that Bryant didn’t complete the catch and that it should be ruled incomplete.  The review officials agreed and overturned the call.  It was the first challenge McCarthy won all season long.  When he threw the flag, I tweeted that this was a dumb challenge and would be a huge story line after the game.  Well, I was half right.  At this point, McCarthy had to challenge this call.  It was the best chance at getting the ball back to the offense and keeping Dallas from scoring.  While much debate has ensued over whether Bryant actually made a catch or not, it appears that the right call was made, according to the rule.  Blame the rule, not the officials.  Great move by McCarthy and it may have saved the season for the Packers.

LB Nick Perry

Perry, when healthy, is capable of making big plays on this Packers defense.  The key is “when healthy”.  While all of the talk in this game was about Packers cornerback Sam Shields on the non-catch at the end of the game, it was Perry who quietly add in one-and-a-half sacks on the day.  His half sack shared with defensive lineman Mike Daniels, came on second and long in the fourth quarter on a drive that eventually ended with a Dallas punt.

We haven’t heard Perry’s name much this season and he has certainly become a role player versus an every-down guy like a first-rounder should be, but he’s contributing and is another guy who is stepping up at a key time.  While he doesn’t make many plays by volume, those he makes tend to count.  His athleticism may be called upon against Seattle as they try to defend a very mobile Russell Wilson while also containing running back Marshawn Lynch.

Lame Calls

LB Brad Jones

Another game, another attempt by Jones to thwart everything that is good about this Packers team.  His defensive holding call on a third down play during the Cowboys’ second drive kept Dallas alive.  From there, they ran off another six minutes off the clock and got into the end zone for their first score of the game.  In week 17, Jones also received a lame call for a blow to the head of Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford.  These are the kinds of things Jones has been doing all season long.  If only for the fact that the Packers lost Jamari Lattimore to injury can I assume that they have to put Jones out there, at times.

When the only thing you’re known for are boneheaded plays with zero redemption through your play making, it’s time for the team to go in another direction.  I firmly believe this is the last season you’ll see Jones in a Packers uniform.  If not, it brings more question and doubt to some of the decision-making that goes on at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.  Simply stated, Jones is a liability and the Packers force themselves to succeed in spite of him.

Tramon Williams

Tough day for Tramon and it was highlighted by a horrible missed tackle early in the second quarter.  Romo completed a pass to receiver Terrance Williams who then left Tramon in the dust and looking foolish with a nice move to free himself up and score on a 38-yard play.  It tied the game up and gave Dallas all of the momentum at that point of the game.  We all want to look back to 2010 and the job that Williams did for the Packers defense.  This is clearly not the same Tramon.

With Davon House back healthy, we may see more of him on the outside as another option to match up better with some of the taller receivers in Seattle.  Tramon has been solid for the Packers this season so hoping that this gaffe was a one-time thing.  It was just one play but it was a big one in a big game so Williams earns a lame call.

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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  • Aaron

    Have to agree with everything here. Good post!

    • dad

      After looking at the landscape of the NFL teams, I think I would give a strong benefit of the doubt to TT and MM on making wise decisions. There are very few coaches or GM’s that have had the long term success that they have had. You have reason to doubt their decision-making if they keep Jones around? I don’t think he will be around, but I would still give the benefit to TT and MM if they keep him. There must be some reason. With the success they have had over the years, I trust them over anyone else on this site. They might make mistakes at times but not as many as other coaches and GM’s around the league. We need to cheer and let them do their job until they consistently fail. We don’t really know how to do their job so quit telling everyone how you know how to coach/scout/evaluate unless you have done it.

  • croatpackfan

    I have to disagree with your description of Brad Jones holding. If he did not hold the Murray, it was real danger Murray will catch the ball and run to the end zone… Look again. There was nobody there to stop him. All together, I agree that his (Jones) level of playing deserves lame calls, but not for that moment particularly…

    • David

      Why hold him, just knock him on his butt. His was at the line of scrimmage. No hold necessary.

      Definitely a lame call.

      • marpag

        Agreed. Didn’t see your post until after I put up mine below. Jones is a softy. That’s not good in the middle of the D.

    • marpag

      Oooh… but there WAS someone there to stop him … BRAD JONES was there… but didn’t stop him. Jones has every right in that situation to deck Murray and knock him into next week, as long as he in the five yard zone and the ball is not in the air. The problem is that Jones got caught napping, Murry was already moving past him, and Jones had no option left except to grab and hold, which is a foul no matter where you do it.

      • croatpackfan

        OK. So you know for certain that Brad Jones task for that play was to stop Murray? Maybe Clay blown out his position and task so Brad had to save his but! You are assuming, no one here knows for certain.
        But I can understand you. Somebody has to be guilty for bad plays. As I recall very often those are Brad Jones & A. J. Hawk. Clay Matthews had a lot of bad placing and was one of the players responsible to contain read option plays, which task he constantly do not perform well. But…
        I admit that Brad Jones looks like he does not possess adequate skills to perform at requested level, but there is coaching team that should take care of players evaluation… We can ask why sometimes it looks like they are not doing their job well, but we will not get answer…
        Also, I remember last season lot of people wants Morgan Burnett out of roster. For lot of fans he was nothing but bust. And when I suggested that he might played bad because he tried to cover others mistakes, I was told that I do not understand football (what is not far of truth!). This season, with huge help from Ha-Ha & Mycah, Morgan is shining. So, coaches made their evaluation correctly. Why to doubt in their judgment with Brad?
        In will remind you of 2 safeties released last season, Jeremy Ross, Sherrod & Newhouse who was released because evaluation finished against them… We all agreed on that evaluations… So, I will ask again, why to doubt coaches today. We do not have complete information!

        • marpag

          What you say about Burnett is irrelevant. I’m not talking about Burnett. For the record, I too supported Burnett, and you can look back on this site if you want to see evidence.

          Truth be told, in the more distant past I also encouraged people to give Jones time. He had one very nice year. I thought he might come around.

          I was right about Burnett. I was wrong about Jones.

          Jones is a six year veteran. I’m not talking about just one play. When a player is consistently on the losing end of big plays, when he misses tackles, allows catches or commits penalties, we can learn something from that, even without inside information from the coaching staff. We don’t need coaches’ input to see if a player demonstrates strength, speed, agility, balance, instincts and aggression. We can see when he gets it done and when he doesn’t. Brad Jones isn’t getting it done.

          The fact that Jones is on the field doesn’t mean that the coaches feel he is a great player, or even a good one. It only means that they think he’s the best option available on the roster.

          If player performance were not clearly visible to the naked eye, I don’t think football would be such a popular spectator sport.

          • croatpackfan

            OK. I see we went in the wrong direction. I’m not supporting Brad Jones on Packers roster. Probably I did not explain my opinion very well. I’m not native english, so there might be some problems when I’m try to explain my position. Please, take that in consideration.
            In my comment I was talking particularly of the play when Brad Jones was called for holding. And nothing else. Please read my comment again and you’ll find there that I more or less agree with your judgement that Brad Jones is not any more player who can play for Packers or at Packers level. But still, understanding that I do not know a lot about football, I am keen to keep coaches evaluation as more reliable when we are talking about players.
            Also, my intention is not to attack your opinion. I’m sorry if it looked like that. I was trying to point out some things to support my opinion. That is all.
            I think we can call of this discussion if you are agreed with me! (on the last sentence)

    • Ferrari Driver

      I agree with you and thought the grab of the running back by Jones was a smart play at the time. The play was set up well and looked like a potential scoring play without the hold.

      I would equate the play to an offensive lineman who elects to grab/tackle a defensive player who is going free to his QB and may put him out of the game.

      • David

        Please see above post.

  • Since ’61

    I would add the OL for a game ball. They played big for the whole game. As for Brad Jones he should be chucked before he commits a penalty that costs us a game. Thanks, Since ’61

  • Jerry

    Lame Call, how about the Ref that spotted T Romo’s completed pass to Jason Witten late in the 2qt for a 1st down. IT was quite obvious that Witten was at least 2 1/2 yards short of the 1st down marker. Mike McCarthy challenged and won. That official should not be working any more playoff games this year!

    • David

      Yes lame call, was not a challenge as Dallas called time out and it was inside 2 min before half. Yes that ref was lame for sure.

      There was another catch by Witten before that one were he came back to catch the ball and the same ref gave him a great spot as well.

      • Jerry

        You’re right David,Coach McCarthy didn’t challenge. I’ll give myself a lame call!

  • David

    Game ball –

    MM for opening up the offense.

    Would love to see spread formations primarily against Seattle. Let’s see how athletic they really are. Not saying don’t use Lacy but prefer to see 4 wides and a tight end, spread the field and let Roger’s win it for them. It is too hard to be methodical against Seattle, spread it and fire down field!

    What do you think Bill Dickson?

    Go Pack Go!

    • TedTomsin

      I think Bill Dickson is 4th and one from Cheesheadtv. Are you in fact 4th and One Bill? Just curious. I kind of enjoy seeing you two go back and forth. The more Cow is here the more people we get here so to me it’s a bonus even though I don’t agree with his mostly negative posts. He’s sort of a legend. David, believe me when I say I am honored to even reply to you.

      Ted

  • GBPDAN

    Let’s give Cobb a game ball, too

    • David Bartel

      Fumble on the kickoff negates a game ball.

      • GBPDAN

        Ok

      • Tundraboy

        Cobb is the only one on team that does not benched for a fumble for dam good reasons

  • TedTomsin

    I would also like to add Shawn Slocum. I told you all. Failure was not an option with coach Slocum and he showed the world with his stellar special teams units. We need two more now Mr. Slocum. Get it done!!
    Ted

  • Chad Lundberg

    We’re better with Tramon than without him. But he hasn’t been the same player. Resign him, but two years at the longest, and 4.5 mil at the highest.

  • aaronqb

    Not sure Davon House is that healthy. He did play special teams, but he has a bad shoulder.

    IMO, the stars of the game were the guys up front on offense. They have been doing it consistently since midseason and are opening gaping holes for Lacy and keeping Rodgers upright.

    The Packers have NOBODY at ILB. The only guy that can play is Matthews and he is better outside. If you want to pick on Jones, then pick on Hawk and Barrington also. None of them are worth a hoot.

    • Tundraboy

      I’m Ok with Barrington, but you are right.
      At least we know the team realizes it now,
      Jones can not see the field at all Sunday

    • Thegreatreynoldo

      I know this is heresy, but I am open to the thought that CMIII might actually be better at ILB than OLB. I think he is a special athlete who can play OLB and ILB, and I realize that OLB is a higher value position than ILB. But I thought at one time that he set the edge well and played both the run and the pass at OLB well, all while providing stellar pass rushing skills. Seemed to me that he was crashing down inside too often, and was not winning 1 on 1 battles with OTs as frequently as perhaps he once did.

  • Boyk

    Does anyone see an angle showing if Boykin was open/ready for catch the pass on the final 3rd down conversion Cobb caught? Rodgers said it was intended for him yet i couldn’t even see him in any of the replays

    • TedTomsin

      Could you just imagine if Rodgers was picked off on that play and it’s returned for a td. I would also like to know if Boykin was open.