Packers Vs. Cowboys: First Impressions – 2014 Divisional Round

Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys:  2014 Divisional Round (Packers 26, Cowboys 21)

As always, this post it what it says it is, unfiltered initial reactions as the game progresses. I always find it entertaining to compare initial impressions from the heat of the moment with more measured thoughts with time to think about it.  Everything is up for discussion.



The Packers and Cowboys are meeting in the playoffs for the first time in 19 years, and they are meeting in the postseason in Green Bay for the first time since the Ice Bowl 47 years ago.

After a bitterly cold week in Green Bay, temperatures are expected to be in the low 20s during today’s game with light winds and minimal chance of snow.

Something has to give: the Packers are 8-0 at home, while the Cowboys are 8-0 on the road. The last time teams of similar records met was in 1972, when the 7-0-at-home Steelers hosted the 7-0-on-the-road (and undefeated) Dolphins.

The winner of this game will head to Seattle next week for the NFC Championship game. The Seahawks defeated the Panthers 31-17 on Saturday night.


Captains for the rest of this season (as voted on by the players) will be Aaron Rodgers (offense), Jordy Nelson (offense), Julius Peppers (defense), Morgan Burnett (defense), Randall Cobb (offense/ special teams) and Jarrett Bush (special teams).


Inactives for today’s game:

The following players have been declared as inactive for Sunday’s NFC Divisional Playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
26 RB DuJuan Harris
39 CB Demetri Goodson
54 LB Carl Bradford
72 C Garth Gerhart
80 TE Justin Perillo
83 WR Jeff Janis
99 DT Bruce Gaston

Dallas Cowboys
10 QB Dustin Vaughan
57 LB Keith Smith
58 LB James Anderson
68 T Doug Free
71 T Donald Hawkins
79 DE Kenneth Boatright
97 DT Terrell McClain

Starting lineup changes: #78 Jermey Parnell will start at RT for #68 Doug Free




Packers vs. Lions – First Impressions – First Half:

Murray takes the ball on Cowboy’s first snap and gets 5… And then gets stopped at LOS on second carry.

A great statement by the defense on the first drive forcing a 3-and-out. Peppers making Thompson look good with the strip.

Packers offense playing primarily in pistol to start the game. Expect it to continue.

On this first drive, Lacy shows the commentary should have been more about him than Murray or Rodger’s calf.

Rodgers moves up in the pocket just enough to get Quarless the TD. Great end to the drive, especially with offense’s red zone questions.

And Brad Jones already keeps a drive alive for the Cowboys with a hold.

Cowboys employing the screens on this drive. Looks like it could be a significant part of their game plan.

Murray’s getting yards, but Packers defense is still making him earn them. After 8 carries, Murray has 20 yards for 2.5 YPC average.

The officiating narrative continues as Cowboys score first touchdown immediately following a questionable PI call. #PickUpTheFlag

Starks in on second drive. Good change up when offensive line is opening big holes.

Rodgers obviously making it a point to stay in the pocket. Looked for more time when DH penalty flag was on the ground.

Packers lose a great drive on the Linsley early snap. Rodgers still needs to protect that ball though.


Score at end of 1st quarter:   GB 7 DAL 7


Williams misses the tackle on Williams to give the Dallas a go-ahead TD.

And the predictable run on 2nd-and-10 after an incomplete pass.

These last couple series show how much more impactful turnovers are in playoff games. Defense could really use a stop here.

How is there no one anywhere near Witten on that third down? Come on defense.

Romo hit again in the legs. Trying to see how this game goes with both QBs on one leg?

Muffed snap gives the defense a gift, and Cowboys miss a 50-yd FG to keep it 14-7.

Cobb makes a GREAT sideline catch to keep last minute drive alive.

Packers go into halftime after a good 40-yd FG by Crosby to cut Cowboys lead 14-10. Will get a chance to double up.

At halftime: Lacy 9-48 (5.3), Murray 17-53 (3.1)

Score at end of 1st half:   GB 10 DAL 14


Packers vs. Lions – First Impressions – Second Half:

For all of the positive changes Packers have seen in the injury department, Rodgers’ calf can make it all seem for naught.

Here’s hoping Lacy gets a “Witten spot.”

Tramon Williams and Brad Jones in the Ugly category today.

And the penalties start rolling… Matthews offsides.

And the turnovers are now equal. That’s a timely momentum shift. Peppers signing could be validated on that play alone.

Two Cowboys against Lang? What is going on down there!!!???

Penalties are killing the Packers more than anything today.

Cowboys waiting all day for the first down play action to Bryant.

Great pressure, but somehow the floater lands gently in Witten’s hands. Romo injured on the play.

Packers and Cowboys killing each other to give Seahawks an easier game.

And Cobb fumbles on the KO return. Leads to a scrum and lots of flags. This game is now beyond chippy.

Jones and Williams will now be give yellow flags after the game to wear all week. #scarletletter

That completion to Adams will hopefully give both him and the QB some more confidence for the rest of the game.

Good no call by the refs. Surprisingly.

Getting away from the running game means tougher 3rd downs. And even worse when Quarless false starts.

THAT was a playoff performance by Rodgers and Adams on 3rd and very long. TD!

Third quarter ends with a -8 yard sack and Dallas only ahead by one. Keep up the momentum!

Score at end of 3rd quarter:   GB 20 DAL 21


Refs completely miss a blatant holding call but Packers still get a consecutive second sack to open 4th qtr.

THIS is why you don’t go for 2 early. Keep momentum going instead of risking it.

Lacy has just about as many yards as Murray with 8 less carries at this point.

Rodgers showing he’s still mobile enough to make plays. Escapes the rush and Q gets the conversion.

Adams gets another big catch and Packers are showcasing all of their weapons now.

Rodgers to Rodgers first time this game… for a TD! All hands on deck.

Packers miss the 2-pt. conversion, but suddenly look in control of the game for the first time since the opening drives.

Tramon needs to find his 2010 self again.

Ok, that was an awesome catch. No way to defend it. Nice try, Sammy… Basically a Hail Mary, do-or-die throw by Romo.

Not a catch!!! Karma for Bryant’s previous field antics?

4 minute drill here for the Packers. Lacy’s time to shine.

Adams has been absolute money in the second half. Great third down conversion to keep the dagger drive going.

Ok, so catch reversal negates ticky tack PI call to give Dallas their first TD. Can we let it rest now?

Oh. My. Word. Cobb FTW. #DAGGER

And the Packers get to seal the game in Victory Formation at Lambeau. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Final Score:  GB 26 DAL 21


Final Thoughts:

Rodgers 24-35, 316 yards, 9.0 AVG, 3 TD, 0 INT, 1 FUM, 125.4 rating… on one leg. M-V-P

Eddie Lacy 19 carries, 101 yards, 5.3 AVG. The unsung hero of this team when it comes to the national media.

Randall Cobb and Davante Adams get game balls today for their playoff-caliber performances. Stepped up when needed most, especially Adams in the second half.

Rodgers completed passes to 7 different players today, and 3 of them each had touchdowns. Hard to stop that offense when all of their weapons are playing at their potential.

On to Seattle… I’m concerned with how much more limited Rodgers was today than I expected. The Seahawks are going to be a tough battle for sure, but we’ve got a whole week to talk about that. For now, enjoy the win! (And sending the Cowboys packing!)


Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski


69 thoughts on “Packers Vs. Cowboys: First Impressions – 2014 Divisional Round

  1. Two things:

    1) Great win.
    2) Without a miracle, we’re cooked next week.

    Did Rodgers take one snap that wasn’t pistol/shotgun? He’s obviously hurt worse than I thought, and the offense/playbook was hugely limited. Gonna be mighty tough to beat SEA unless St. Vince sends down some miraculous “calf healing” from above….

    PS – According to NFL rules, it was NOT a catch. According to almost all other rules, it was a catch.

    1. I dunno…Carolina gave Seattle every opportunity to win that game yesterday. Seattle doesn’t seem to generate much consistent offense these days…they rely on winning field position with their defense/turnovers and a couple big offensive plays. The Packers already limit turnovers, and if they can keep from giving up big plays, they’ve got a shot.

      1. Not awful….just average. Maybe average is awful for playoff football, but they showed today that they could slow down a power running game, which they couldn’t do earlier in the year.

      2. They made some big stops in the 2nd half. Not a great D. But what’s more important than a great D is when the D makes stops and they kept the game under control until the offense got on track today. Thanks, Since ’61

        1. The Cowboys averaged 384 yards per game. The Packers held them to 315. That says above average to me. Also, I don’t think that Tramon Williams should’ve been called for PI in the end zone. Take away that and the games isn’t really close.

      3. That’s David being David. 21 points allowed against the leading NFL rushing offense and a rejuvenated Romo is very respectable. Looked like the defense started to wear down, perhaps in part when Boyd got hurt. No, I am not saying Boyd is great, just noting the effect on the rotation. The GB offense certainly showed its mettle when it had scoring drives of 80 and then 90 yards.

        That said, I will think about Seattle tomorrow.

      4. They just held one of the better offenses in the NFL to 315 yards, I’ll take that all day long. Not to mention holding Bryant to 3 catches for 38 yards. The Packers played like they have the whole 2nd half of the season, pretty damn good!

  2. Good game. Adams and Lacy were tougher than nails and that last td pass to Rodgers was unbelievable. I’m not a fan of video reviews or the Calvin Johnson rule, but that’s the way they play the game these days.

    1. When the former head of officials says he didn’t think it was a catch, that helps a little bit in the national eye. Instead of the Packers stealing one, they dodge a bullet.

  3. Rodgers had about 100 yards passing in the first half and just over 200 yards in the 2nd half. I posted in the 3rd quarter that if Rodgers was holding back (i.e. planting and throwing or avoiding the rush) now was the time to let it all hang out. His throws seem to have more authority in the 2nd half. The TD pass to R. Rodgers was a bullet throw a very tight window: MVP stuff there.

  4. Great win.

    Great performance by Rogers.

    Defense still can’t tackle. Tight ends just wide open.

    Hyde was horrible today, especially on the blitz. Why did he not go full steam ahead at Romo? He is not Russell Wilson.

    Brad Jones continues to be a liability. That holding call changed the game early.

    Williams for Packers was terrible.

    Bryant play good call bad rule.

    Officiating continues to be brutal. Bad calls on both sides.

    NFL games are becoming unwatchable.

    As marpag said we need a miracle next week but the miracle is sprinkling pixie dust on the defense so they can tackle. The defense had plenty of chances to take over the game and are just not capable of doing so.

    Packer’s are a 7 point “dog next week.

    Will have to put 27 on the board or more to win.

    Not confident but anything can happen.

    Go Pack Go!

    1. I’m actually going to sort of defend Brad Jones here: he had to hold the back because otherwise he breaks wide open on the screen and goes for 15-20 yards, at least. So he saved the bigger play, but only because he was beat.

      “Packer’s are a 7 point “dog next week.” — I think the ’97 Packers would be a 7-point dog at Seattle next week (in the eye of the current media).

      1. Dobber, I can’t recall exactly where contact occurred, but if it was within a yard of the LOS, Jones should have just de-cleated him.

    2. Football is unwatchable????
      Go watch soccer, and see how subjective calls are often not accurate.
      Shall we add more refs and assign 1 ref for each player?

    3. They just held Dez Bryant to 38 yards on 3 catches playing a single high safety all game long. Those corners were on Islands and showed up today.

      It was Jones who tackled Beasley to keep the Cowboys from a 1st down to set up the Bryant “Non Catch” play.

      You really are Cow aren’t you?

      1. Wow. Really good point. I didnt realize Bryant’s numbers were that bad. Not only that, Shields had pretty decent coverage on the non catch. There wasn’t a whole lot more he could do.
        It’ll be interesting to see if Seattle’s O-line pushes our guys back like Dallas did. It seemed like Murray would get 3 yds just falling forward.

    4. blah blah blah o yea blah blah blah…say the same shit all year but here we are in the champ game,you are a pest that really says nothing,i mean nothing at all same shit different day. I know if we win the super bowl I can see your headline..we better sure up the D or we wont repeat next year…PS do you have any friends

  5. Not to toot my own horn, but that game went about how I thought it would…with the exception of the fact that Dez Bryant didn’t get the big catch. Packers dodged a bullet, and it happened because cautious #12 stayed on the sideline in the third. When ARod let it hang out a bit more–because they knew they couldn’t win without him taking some chances–things started to click.

    One thing: on the 2-point conversion, put Lacy in the backfield to at least threaten a run.

  6. Hard fought game today. Congratulations to the Packers on the win. Rodgers played great in the 2nd half. Considering that he was playing on one leg he was amazing. His injuries appears to be worse that I thought. Lacy, Cobb and Adams were huge today. OL another solid game. Two points; why is Bard Jones still on the team? He is an automatic holding penalty. The only time his name is called is when he commits a penalty which he did twice today. Why didn’t Capers have an answer for Witten today? His D played pretty well today, but Witten was uncovered on too many plays. We got the W that’s all that matters. On to Seattle somehow. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

      1. Geez, dude, I think everybody knows that he meant to write “BAD Jones” but accidentally included an “r.” Typos happen. Cut him some slack, huh?


    1. I concur, I didn’t realize A Rod’s calf was that bad! Rodgers played through the injury and mounted a masterful comeback. Very impressive even Troy Aikman was talking about it.

    2. Seems a bit silly to expect the defense to keep a lid on everyone. If you tilt the coverage/defense toward stopping one player, it opens up things for other players. How many other defenses held the Cowboys to 191 passing yards?

      1. Greg – I’m not complaining. I said the D played pretty well in my post. I’m just saying that Witten was open quite a bit. My real frustrations with B. Jones and his penalties. Go Pack! Thanks, Since ’61

    3. Witten is a cagey old pro who caught 64 passes during the regular season. He knows how to get open, when to release, and runs nice routes. Normally he averages 4 catches 11.1 yds per catch. Today he had 6 catches for 11.8 yds per catch. So, it was a good day for Witten but not stellar. GB paid lots of attention to Bryant and to stopping Murray.

      I’d of thought one old guy would recognize the value of another old guy (:p).

      1. Reynoldo – I respect Witten and I’m not complaining about the result. But it was frustrating seeing Witten pretty open throughout the game. Overall, I think that our defense did a great job yesterday. They made stops when they had to make them. They held Murray in control except for one play and they had 4 sacks on Romo against an excellent OL. Go Pack! On to Seattle. Thanks, Since ’61

        1. If Dallas pulls that game out, Witten is probably the hero. How many first down catches did he have yesterday? He was the embodiment of where the Packer D fails: they lack that reliable, multipurpose guy in the middle of the defense (an Andre Levy) who can do anything you ask of him and do it well.

          1. Dobber – exactly my point. It was correct to focus on Murray and Dez, I didn’t see any play to cover Witten. If there was it was poorly executed is all I’m saying. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

        2. We are on the same page, Since ’61. I was just giving Witten credit for guile, for being a crafty old veteran. Yes, he exceeded his season averages by 50%. Not great, but good TEs are going to hurt GB until we get a good ILB or a Chillar type sub.

          Really, I was trying to kid you: “I would have thought that one old guy would recognize the value of another old guy (read crafty veteran) :P.” I even checked with my teenager to make sure that 😛 in texting shorthand meant what I thought: apparently, it is a wink or smiley face while sticking one’s tongue out, i.e. kidding someone a bit.

          BTW, Seattle’s TE, Luke Wilson, is the opposite of Witten. 2nd yr. player, great athlete (6’5″, 251 lbs, 38″ vertical, ran 4.51 forty at his pro day, but caught just 22 passes for 362 yds in 15 games, including getting 139 yds against Arizona in wk 16, and went 4 for 68 against Carolina. Seattle’s starter at TE is on IR. We’ll see if GB can limit him.

          1. No worries. We’re good Reynoldo. As for Seattle’s TE, I think they use him as more of a 3rd or 4th option then a go to guy like Witten. We’ll see. Thanks, Since ’61

  7. The offensive game plan was lacking. Rodgers is hobbled yet they did the did the same thing and struggled as a result. If they try that against Seattle, they’ll be dead in the water.

    To beat Seattle, they need to play 60 minutes on both sides of the ball, notably on defense, who played quite poorly today outside of Julius Peppers, Sam Barrington, and Nick Perry. Clay Matthews should QB spy Russell Wilson every snap. Yes, every snap.

    They need to adapt their offense for short passes like San Diego and Kansas City did and pass-to-run with Lacy and Starks (since Harris is dead/not good anymore/unable to pass pro).

    It would be so special if we could win in Seattle but it’s a tough mountain to climb but this is it. This is why we play the game. Let’s do it, Pack!

  8. Going 12-4 and Beating the Vikings , Bears twice, the Lions for the division and Dallas in the playoffs is a great year! With Rodgers hurt and not able to play his game, any win after this is a bonus.

    PS: hey Skip Bayless, SHUT UP! Rodgers just carried his team on one leg against one of the best teams in a playoff game!

      1. Yea I know Chris Christie is the Governor Of New Jersey I just wanted to know if A Rod was making a crack!

    1. Yes, I tend to believe that was code talk to rip on the fat f for all the b.s. attention he got all week with his buddy boy Jerry. He said New York Bozo instead of New Jersey Bozo on purpose to throw people off.

        1. lol.. We have the Jersey Devil now the Jersey Bozo. So Rodgers was mocking David aka Cow42 and not governor Chris Christie? Very interesting. We’ll probably never know the truth as Rodgers is denying everything saying it was all just made up. Right.. You gotta love Rodgers.

  9. Brad Jones vs. Mike Daniels
    The Cowboys ran that screen twice. First time Brad Jones holds. Watch the second time and Mike Daniels knows what to do. He smacks Murray, knocks him off balance and the play never worked – incomplete pass.

    Mike Daniels again – Those sacks by Neal, Datone Jones, Nick Perry, etc all set up by Daniels. Watched those over and over.

    Aaron Rodgers on one leg better than 80% of the QB’s in the NFL.
    Julius Pepper – TT is a genius.

    Paybacks are hell department No 1

    Would be great if we win in Seattle given that game a few years ago with the Highs School Refs and the interception that was a TD.

    Paybacks are hell No. 2

    Cowboys win last week on a crazy pass interference call but lose on crazy non-catch call on the Dez Bryant play.

    1. More than just the PI call. The Detroit media is just as pissed about the 4 penalties called in crunch time against the Lions on the game winning drive.

  10. Mike McCarthy challenges all year and loses every single one according to the broadcast. Then he gets one right. The only one all year that mattered.

    1. I agree, regardless of who the opponent turned out to be. At this point, they’re playing for one more week every week.

  11. Credit where do, kudos to MM for going up tempo in second half. Was waiting for that all game. Like to see it against Seattle keep them running around as even they will get tired.

    Go Pack Go!

    1. Also the challenge. at the time, I thought he was nuts risking the last timeout. Thats why he’s the coach and I’m not.

      1. He HAD to do it. That was the key, monumental play because they were one play away from taking the lead with 4:30 to go. 4:30 is a lot of time, and maybe they would’ve missed the timeout if the challenge failed, but it was far more important on that 4th to try to prevent the score and get the ball.

  12. Too much whining about refs. The entire history of the NFL included refs, and human error. But now the replay and intense scrutiny can subject any ref to look like a bozo. NFL refs are good, and refs make arrerz (errors), and that is part of the game. Just quit whining. If Dez Bryant makes that same catch 10 times in front of 10 officiating crews, he gets awarded the completion 4 out of 10, because “a football move” is a bit subjective. Him making that extra stretch, IMO was a football move. But, hey, the refs called it this way, this time. Maybe next time, Jerry gets his hug from Governor Christie.

    Players make mistakes on the field. And so do refs. If you don’t like it, watch some sort of computer game.

    1. “NFL refs are good, and refs make arrerz (errors), and that is part of the game.”

      The argument isn’t that the ref made an error. It’s that the rule doesn’t work well. I feel that in light of the rule itself, the reversal was justified. I just don’t think the rule always fits. In this case, because he happened to be falling down, it worked against him.

      In the post-game, they were talking about how the rule is there to create a consistent basis on which to rule. I tend to agree: if you leave it any more nebulous, we’ll likely see more griping about clear “non-catches” that are ruled completions than plays like this.

  13. The Goats:
    Brad Jones; wow. How many times have we seen him blow a great 3rd down stop with a penalty. Having said that, if he didn’t disrupt that play legal-wise….it was going to be a 1st down anyway. He seems an overall liability.
    Quarless: I have big questions too. Maybe he survives by his blocking.
    Tramon/Shields; bad day.
    Packer seemed to be self-destructing in “Detroit lions” style.
    The Heroes: (besides AR and Lacy and Cobb)
    Davante Adams has been my goat for a month, but wow; cheers to him for coming up big. He made some great jukes out there…almost basket-ball-like moves by a point guard.
    Clinton-Dix; Unsung hero, but if you see his unglamorous, but solid work, I think he earned his reputation, and justified #1 pick. He contained.
    Peppers: well enough said about his value.
    Kuhn; proved many of us critics wrong, at beginning of season…we thought he was well past prime…but his blocking.
    McCarthy: brilliant use of Cobb! I’ve been critic of MM in past years, but this was fabulous/creative strategy. Kudos!
    Guion: seemed pretty solid
    Boyd: seemed pretty solid
    Daniels: Stud. He gave Dallas lots of problems.

  14. Sorry for clogging this site with 3 posts….But one more thing to say:
    Hey pundits, who is America’s team now?
    hahaha… silenced that silliness verbage.

  15. I hope Boyd is okay. I did not see him return to this game. Though PFF gives him negative grades against the run and the pass, we need his size and we need him for rotational purposes.

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