Pack­ers, Cow­boys have same goal: Bounce back from 1st loss

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Schuyler Dixon As­so­ci­ated Press

AR­LING­TON, Texas — Dak Prescott and the Dal­las Cow­boys want to get their of­fense back to what it was do­ing be­fore a sput­ter­ing loss that slowed their best start in more than a decade.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Pack­ers are look­ing for a re­peat of their best of­fen­sive show­ing _ but this time in a win when nearly 500 yards wasn’t good enough.

The divi­sion lead­ers _ visit­ing Green Bay (3-1) is tied with Chicago atop the NFC North _ meet Sun­day with the same goal: An­swer a loss with a vic­tory so they can still feel the mo­men­tum of open­ing with three straight wins.

“As we’ve shown ob­vi­ously early on strug­gling on of­fense with our de­fense play­ing re­ally well, man­ag­ing the game and tak­ing care of the foot­ball was what helped us win those early games,” said Rodgers, who had his eighth 400-yard game in last week’s 34-27 loss to Philadel­phia.

“Last week, we needed to outscore them, and we didn’t get the job done. So it’s on the of­fense to be a lot bet­ter sit­u­a­tion­ally.”

In a 12-10 loss at New Or­leans, the Cow­boys (3-1) were held to 257 yards, barely half of what they rolled up in each of their wins while scor­ing more than 30 points each time.

Tight end Ja­son Wit­ten and run­ning back Ezekiel El­liott had fum­bles that helped con­trib­ute to the first half­time deficit of the sea­son, and Prescott made a crit­i­cal mis­take tak­ing a sack on the first play of the fi­nal drive, when they ran out of time need­ing only a field goal to win.

“We know the po­ten­tial of this team, we know how good we can be and we can’t fo­cus nec­es­sar­ily on what the record is,” Prescott said. “You take the good, you take the bad, you live and learn from it and you get bet­ter be­cause of it.”

The Pack­ers could be with­out top re­ceiver Da­vante Adams, who had his ca­reer-high 180 yards re­ceiv­ing against the Ea­gles be­fore in­jur­ing a toe in the sec­ond half.

RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY The Cow­boys had 45 yards rush­ing against the Saints, their fewest since the sec­ond game of El­liott’s sec­ond sea­son in 2017. Dal­las had 40 yards in that 42-17 loss to Den­ver, and El­liott fin­ished with a ca­reer-low 8. But the Pack­ers have the 26thranked run de­fense through four weeks.

“I just think you have to be care­ful about get­ting into num­bers too much,” Cow­boys coach Ja­son Gar­rett said. “We’re go­ing to go do what we want to do and again, try to at­tack dif­fer­ent ways, try to be who we are in all phases of our team.”

Green Bay’s Aaron Jones had his first ca­reer 100-yard game in a 35-31 win over the Cow­boys as a rookie two years ago, but has av­er­aged 20 yards in two games since go­ing for 116 in Week 2 this year. Like their de­fense, the Pack­ers have the 26thranked rush­ing of­fense.

“We’ve got to make sure the wide re­ceivers are on the same page, the quar­ter­back’s on the same page, the tight ends are on the same page, the of­fen­sive line’s on the same page and the run­ning back is,” left tackle David Bakhtiari said. DID DEZ CATCH IT? Ran­dall Cobb, who spent his first eight sea­sons in Green Bay, is fac­ing the Pack­ers for the first time after sign­ing with the Cow­boys in the off­sea­son. It took re­porters six ques­tions to get to the one he was wait­ing for: Did Dez catch it?

“I’ve been get­ting that a lot since I’ve been here,” Cobb said. “We didn’t know what the rules were back then. It’s prob­a­bly a catch nowa­days.”

It was a ref­er­ence to Dal­las re­ceiver Dez Bryant’s in­fa­mous catch that wasn’t on fourth down in the fourth quar­ter of Green Bay’s 26-21 di­vi­sional-round vic­tory dur­ing the 2014 sea­son. The deep ball was ruled a catch and over­turned on re­view. Three years later, the rules changed.

PRO­TECT­ING PRESCOTT

The Cow­boys could be with­out six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Ty­ron Smith, who sprained an an­kle against the Saints. Right tackle La’el Collins missed the first two prac­tices after a back is­sue cropped up this week.

Cameron Flem­ing would fill in for Smith. Dal­las is con­sid­er­ing mov­ing sec­ondyear guard Con­nor Wil­liams to Collins’ spot and start­ing some­one else at left guard. The Cow­boys are set to face one of the NFL’S two lineback­ing tandems with at least three sacks apiece in Pre­ston Smith (4½ sacks) and Za’dar­ius Smith (three).

HIGH DRAMA

The Pack­ers are 3-0 against Dal­las at AT&T Sta­dium, with three dra­matic vic­to­ries, start­ing in 2013 when Rodgers was in­jured and Matt Flynn led Green Bay’s 37-36 win after trail­ing 26-3 at half­time.

Two years after the

Dez catch that wasn’t, the Pack­ers beat the Cow­boys in the di­vi­sional-round again on Rodgers’ im­prob­a­ble 35-yard com­ple­tion to Jared Cook that set up Ma­son Crosby’s field goal on the fi­nal play in Green Bay’s 34-31 win.

In 2017, Rodgers’ 12-yard scor­ing pass to Adams with 11 sec­onds left gave Green Bay a 35-31 win as the teams com­bined for 30 points in the fourth quar­ter.

“Some places you feel re­ally com­fort­able,” Rodgers said. “There’s so much go­ing on. It’s a beau­ti­ful sta­dium with the jum­botron and the way it’s set up, an in­ter­est­ing kind of walk through the club when you’re head­ing on the field. A lot of stim­uli, but we’ve had some fun games there.”

MIKE ROEMER/AP

Green Bay Pack­ers quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers drops back to pass dur­ing the first half of the team's NFL foot­ball game against the Philadel­phia Ea­gles on Thurs­day, Sept. 26, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis.

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