Posted on October 8, 2017, by Travis Pulver
It’s the kind of story that is all-too-familiar for fans of the Dallas Cowboys. The offense was far from perfect but they had played well enough to keep the team in the game. When the team needed the offense most, it delivered. After falling behind, 28-24, Dak Prescott engineered a 17-play, 79-yard touchdown drive that took 8:43 off the clock in the fourth quarter.
But, as it turns out, it wasn’t enough.
Why not? Because Dak Prescott scored too quickly?
When Prescott trotted across the goal line from 11-yards out to put the Cowboys back on top, 31-28, he left 73 seconds on the clock. For many quarterbacks that would not be nearly enough time to get anything done. But they were not playing just any old quarterback.
It was Aaron Rodgers on the other side of the field. If there is a quarterback in the NFL today that can make magic happen with so little time, it is Rodgers. But Dak Prescott wasn’t worried.
“I’m going to trust my defense,” Prescott said (via SportsDay). “This is a team game. There are 11 guys on each side of the ball every time.
“I’m going to trust those guys on defense to make a play.”
But fans knew enough to be worried. They knew this defense wasn’t good enough to stop Rodgers, but they hoped that it could at least slow him down enough to force a field goal. With how Elliot ran the ball in the fourth quarter if Dallas got the ball first chances were good they could end the game with a touchdown.
They just needed the defense to hold Rodgers to a field goal. For a brief time, it looked like they were going to do just that. But on third and eight from the 30-yard line, Rodgers escaped the grasp of David Irving. Eighteen yards later he stepped out of bounds with 21 seconds on the clock.
“It was a missed tackle,” said Irving (via SportsDay). “It is what it is. There is no way to BS it.”
The Packers were thinking about tying the game up and sending it to overtime with a 48-yard field goal. But now they were thinking they could win the game now instead. So two plays later Rodgers did just that when he connected with Davante Adams on a 12-yard touchdown pass.
“Our identity is that when we have to have it, there’s zero excuses,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after the game (WashingtonPost). “That’s just the case. We needed another drive there to tie the game and send it to overtime or beat them, and we put it together.”
Once again, the Dallas offense got the job done. Dak Prescott completed 25 of 36 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns (and a pick-6). After a very slow start (16 carries for 31 yards through the first three quarters) Ezekiel Elliot got rolling in the fourth quarter (13 carries for 85 yards).
Elliot’s best play was his shortest one, a one-yard dive on fourth and one where he stretched out to get that yard and keep the drive alive.
“We definitely hit our stride in the fourth quarter,” Elliott said after the game (SportsDay). “You’ve got to thank (offensive coordinator Scott) Linehan. That’s genius of him how much he trusted the running game.”
But once again, the Cowboys couldn’t trust their defense. Now they are 2-3 heading into their bye week with every quarterback they play eager to rip the Dallas secondary to shreds.
Green Bay will try to keep the good times rolling against the Vikings next week.