Green Bay Replay: Cowboys 37, Packers 27
The Packers' deflating 37-27 loss to Dallas Thursday night at Texas Stadium screamed "worst case scenario" on several fronts, beginning with the injury to franchise icon Brett Favre, but fans can take comfort in a few bright spots:
Aaron Rodgers can play.
Mike McCarthy can coach.
The Cowboys, though solid and talented, are nowhere near invincible.
Here are some other observations from the sofa:
Bold prediction: In an interview Thursday morning, NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci said that the announcement of the inactives 90 minutes before kickoff would be crucial to the Packers' chances. He was absolutely right. The Packers were without cornerback Charles Woodson and defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and it hurt them immeasurably. Woodson's absence created confusion in the secondary (and led to some blunders by Jarrett Bush) and the defensive line didn't create a lot of pressure without KGB.
Throwback game: The Cowboys wore their blue retro jerseys, but it was Brett Favre who turned back the clock. Before he exited with elbow and shoulder injuries, Favre forced passes into double coverage and generally abandoned all the things that made him an MVP candidate in the first 10 weeks of the season. Whether by necessity or design, the Packers returned to their short-passing attack when Rodgers entered the game and they prospered.
In the most extensive action of his career, Rodgers completed 18 of 26 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown. Favre was 5 for 14 with 56 yards and two interceptions.
Zebra attack: As was often the case back in the '90s, the key calls went against Green Bay. Al Harris did strip the ball from Terrell Owens on the Cowboys' first drive, but the refs had blown the whistle.
The key play of the game was a 42-yard pass interference call on Tramon Williams, who didn't appear to impede Patrick Clayton. It was dicey at best.
Iron Mike: McCarthy showed big-time guts when he yanked Daryn Colledge and Jarrett Bush from the game for incompetence. He also did a nice job adjusting things for Rodgers. If only he could have convinced defensive coordinator Bob Sanders to blitz a little more to create pressure on Romo. With KGB out of the picture, the Cowboys dominated the line for most of the night.
House of horrors: Favre is now 0-9 at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys have won each game by at least 10 points.
Gumbel goofs: NFL Network play-by-play announcer Bryant Gumbel's first big faux pas of the night came early. On what is known as the "run-out," when a team enters the field, Gumbel said: "Here come the Packers..." and then corrected himself by saying "Cowboys."
Right before halftime, Gumble mangled a common position ("linebrackers?) and then continued his team confusion by saying "The crowd is not happy but the Packers will go for the field goal," when he really meant to say "Cowboys."
There were other slipups along the way. Gumbel closed out the night by promoting the Wendy's post-game show. He caught that one quickly and changed it to Home Depot, but the sponsors couldn't have been thrilled with that one. He also, in teasing a post-game interview, referred to the Cowboys' quarterback as "Rick Romo."
Fitting tribute: Several players wore No. 21 stickers in honor of slain Redskins safety Sean Taylor. Fortunately, the moment of silence was truly silent; no buffoons marred it with screams.
Wardrobe malfunctions? Packers offensive tackle Mark Tauscher, who seemed to be struggling to overcome the ankle injury that has hobbled him of late, seemed to rip his pants in the first half. Also, it appeared that rookie receiver James Jones had trouble with his shoes.
Safety dance: Remember when Packers coaches and front office types used to say that Nick Collins had the potential to be a Pro Bowl player? Nobody says that any more. Collins doesn't show great instincts or a knack for making plays. Atari Bigby didn't play well on Thursday, either.
Memory lane: The opening coin toss featured appearances by legendary Dallas quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. The Cowboys are celebrating the 30th and 15th anniversaries of championships in won in 1977 and '92, respectively. And you thought only the Braves / Brewers won titles in even increments.
Breaking news: The Cowboys cheerleaders had another strong draft.
Name game: If Alex Rodriguez wasn't such a lightning rod, do you think Rodgers could get some juice from the nickname "A-Rod?"
Pass the mustard: Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens may be a giant hot dog, but he's incredibly talented. And, he's fun. You had to laugh when he grabbed that popcorn box after the touchdown. Look at it this way: he's nowhere near as obnoxious as Michael Irvin was in the '90s.
Kick in the shorts: What happened to the Packers' special teams? Miles Austin averaged about 35 yards on kickoffs and kicker Mason Crosby looked more aggressive than some of his teammates on the kick team. The Cowboys seemed to have more energy on those plays, which was unexpected.
Nice wrapup. Bryant Gumbel is terrible. Remember when he stated that he wouldn't watch the Winter Olympics because there are no black people in it. He is a racist. Imagine if some white guy said that about basketball. He wouldn't have a job anymore. But somehow Bryant Gumbel gets away with it. I do like his brother Greg though. Greg is intelligent and actually seems to know what he's talking about unlike his stupid racist brother Bryant.
Yah, the use of the popcorn in the end zone may be cute, but what about the whole you-can't-use-props-in-your-celebration rule?
"Rick Romo." I caught the end of the game and heard Gumble say that ... I was thinking to myself... are they interviewing his father or something? I'm gonna have to say he is the worse announcer I have heard.. he doesn't even sound right.
Olson goofs: rips Gumbel for saying "Linebrackers" and then misspells "referred" as "reffered". that said, Gumbel and Collinsworth WERE bad.
Sig Fous-Bohl | Nov. 30, 2007 at 11:15 a.m. (report)
"The Cowboys, though solid and talented, are nowhere near invincible." If that's true, what does it say about the Packers, who couldn't beat them? Cue the excuses...
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