Four Downs: Cowboys heartbroken again in loss to Packers

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Photo: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Green Bay Packers ended the Dallas Cowboys season in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs. While the stakes weren’t nearly as high, history found a way to repeat itself on Sunday at AT&T Stadium. Aaron Rodgers found Davante Adams for a 12-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left to defeat the Cowboys 35-31.

Dallas heads into their bye week at 2-3 and are now left searching for answers. With that, here are four downs from Sunday’s thriller in Arlington.

Déjà vu All Over Again

If Cowboys fans felt like they were watching the same game as last week against the Los Angeles Rams, their feelings are pretty spot on.

The Cowboys got a great effort in the first half from Dak Prescott, Cole Beasley and the defensive line was able to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers by sacking him three times in the first half. With the score 21-12 at the break, Dallas was in good shape…until they weren’t.

The second half to the game Sunday was a mirror image to the loss to the Rams. People will point to the pick-six that went off of Terrance Williams’ hands in the fourth quarter as a turning point. It was, but it was just part of the issue.

The killer play ended up being the second down call in the redzone where Prescott threw a pass intended for Dez Bryant in the end zone that was broken up. As it turns out, it gave Rodgers and company enough time to march down the field for the win.

Defensive Letdown

Another area for concern continues to be the defense and it’s two-fold.

One: The Cowboys miss Sean Lee. A lot. The veteran linebacker was out for the second straight game on Sunday and it showed. The linebackers simply couldn’t match the production when needed which leads right into the second part.

The Cowboys just couldn’t make a play on defense when they absolutely needed to. The defense was torched in the second half in the air with Aaron Rodgers and on the ground by former UTEP and El Paso Burges running back Aaron Jones. It’s been the same story and one that will need to be addressed during the bye week.

Running Backs Stand Out on Sunday

The two starting running backs in this game made a mark on Sunday’s game but did so in different ways.

First, the aforementioned Aaron Jones shined in his first career start, finishing with 19 carries, 125 yards and a touchdown. He also made a key catch on the sideline that set up a Green Bay score late in the first half. One of the weaknesses on offense for the Packers had been their inability to maintain a consistent running game. Jones proved himself well on Sunday and earned a closer look to earn more carries going forward.

On the other sideline, Ezekiel Elliott finished with 29 carries for 116 yards. While it took longer for him to get going, Elliott did do a good job of keeping the clock moving and eventually wearing down the Green Bay defense late.

Time To Regroup

After the latest loss, the Cowboys enter their bye week looking for answers and it comes with some good timing. What can the Cowboys do to avoid second half collapses? What do you make of the key clock management situations? How do you fix the defense? These are just some of the questions Dallas has to answer as they will head into a tough stretch of their schedule once their bye week is over.

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