The Power of the Star: Cowboys Take Down Packers

Byron MotenCorrespondent INovember 30, 2007 Dallas Cowboys had a few things to prove last night—and they succeeded in a 37-27 win over the Green Bay Packers, clinching a playoff berth.

I thought this game would come down to a field goal, but Tony Romo proved me wrong. Right from the gate, he was firing on all cylinders, showing his idol, Brett Favre what he could do.

Romo went 19 of 30 with 309 yards, four TDs, and one INT as he showed no mercy for the Packers defense. He set up huge plays for his receivers and caused two pass interference calls to guide them to the red zone.

Patrick Crayton, who was back from an ankle injury, had two TDs and Terrell Owens had another monster game with seven receptions, 156 yards, and a touchdown. Even Jason Witten had a field day in the fourth quarter with six receptions for 67 yards.

T.O. fumbled a touchdown pass out of his hands which caused an INT to Al Harris. Marion Barber ran for 17 Att for 81 yards The defense was incredible, penetrating through the Packers O-Line and destroying Brett Favre every time he dropped back to pass. (He was injured in the second quarter.)

The only thing that concerned me with the 'Boys was their decision-making in the third quarter. Instead of kicking a field goal on fourth and two, they went for it and failed, giving the Packers a huge chance for a comeback.

The biggest case of the night, though, was the last pass- interference call in the third quarter. Dallas came out lucky on that one, as Miles Austin clearly tripped over his own feet. This is the point in the game where you just have to let the players play.

With this win, Dallas extended the best start in franchise history, going 11-1. With four games left, the Cowboys already have their most wins in a season since going 12-4 in 1995, their last Super Bowl season.

Despite the loss, the Packers didn't play a bad game at all. I'm just not sure why Brett Favre came out forcing passes. Maybe he didn't trust Ryan Grant, who had a great game with 14 Att for 94 yards. The more he threw, the more he got knocked to the ground, causing his team points. He really rushed himself last night, throwing the ball impatiently.

The offensive line didn't help much either, as Favre didn't even have five seconds to throw the football. He was five of 14 for 56 yards with two interceptions. It got worse for Favre when he was hit by Nate Jones in the second quarter, injuring his elbow and taking him out of the game.

Aaron Rodgers played a very good second half, replacing Favre. He was patient and didn't force anything in the offense. He scrambled, found receivers, and led Green Bay back within three, 27-24. His offense was very balanced—using Ryan Grant to open up the field, scoring another touchdown after his 67-yard TD run in the first quarter. Rodgers was 18 of 26 with 201 yards and a TD. He provided the kind of rally characteristic of Favre, even throwing the first touchdown pass of his three-year career.Icon

But he's no Brett Favre, so this comeback came up short. The Packers defense played terribly, expect in the third quarter when they were on the Cowboys heels, leading toward a comeback. They have Al Harris to thank for getting torched by T.O. and not being aggressive like the corner that he is.

The defensive line couldn't even sneeze on Tony Romo. The Packers really needed defensive stops in the game, but withKabeer Gbaja-Biamila and cornerback Charles Woodson inactive with injuries, they couldn't do it. Dallas got a clock-draining drive and field goal for a 10-point lead with 1:03 left—and with Favre nowhere in sight, having already headed to the locker room before the two-minute warning.

The Packers, now 10-2, ended a six-game winning streak and are now essentially two games behind Dallas in the chase for the conference's top spot with only four games left. The Packers are still in great shape for at least the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye because their next three opponents have losing records.

The idea of starting Rodgers next week may no longer be as dreadful to fans who have wondered if he was a wasted draft pick. In the most extended action of his career, he was 18 of 26 for 201 yards with a touchdown with no turnovers.

The bigger concern now for the Packers is Favre's health. His run of 249 consecutive starts—a record that's about six seasons longer than the next-best by a quarterback—might be in jeopardy, although he has 10 days to heal before the Packers play again, Dec. 9 at home against Oakland.