Cowboys vs Packers Film Review: Standouts, notes, and observations

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: A general view of play between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: A general view of play between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys at AT /

The Cowboys lost another heart-breaker at the hands of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. After reviewing the game, here are our standouts, notes, and observations…

  • Terrance Williams is notorious for body catching and not aggressively attacking the ball. He showed that when he failed to lift his hands out of a break and let a catchable ball fall into the hands of the weakest link on the Green Bay defense for a pick-six.
  • Travis Frederick was highlighted in the fourth quarter for some of his holds, but the truth is he’s always peppered those into his game. The NFL seems to be cracking down more and it’s up to the All-Pro to make the adjustment. The point is, Frederick hasn’t regressed as much as some would have you believe.
  • Keith Smith started the game as sort of H-back, playing both TE2 and FB1. He was absolutely terrible early on but hit his stride soon after and became a bigger asset than James Hanna or Geoff Swaim have all season. It really makes you wonder how soon the Cowboys insert Rico Gathers once he presumably returns from IR.
  • To elaborate, Gathers faces better odds supplanting Keith Smith than he does and run-blocking TE so this is good news for those patiently waiting Gathers’ fans out there.
  • Jaylon Smith had another poor game. After starting fairly strong this season, he’s been exposed in pass defense and even in run stopping. He’s clearly fatigued and desperately needs Sean Lee back so Anthony Hitchens can relieve him in the middle. The fact that he’s regressed physically speak to his conditioning and how long he’s been away from the game. Don’t lose faith in his long-term potential.
  • It was great to see Jason Witten and Cole Beasley get the ball early on Sunday. Teams have been doubling/bracketing the pair this season and forcing Dak Prescott to hit his outside receivers. Needless to say, that’s changed the complexion of the offense. The offense will get back on track when Wit and Bease get on tract
  • As predicted, the Cowboys were defensively caught with 12 men on the field twice. Lucky for them, one time the penalty wasn’t enough to give Green bay a first down, and the other time Jason Garrett caught Rod Marinelli’s mistake and called a timeout before Rodgers could execute his patented “free play”.

Related Story: How Rodgers beat Marinelli with the free play every time

Love to see

Chidobe Awuzie

playing inside close to the line. That is clearly his strength and that’s where he’s going to make a name for himself in this league. He navigates the chaos at the line instinctively and crashes. He doesn’t have enough film to determine how effective he is in coverage but the dude is an immediate impact player now in shallow coverage, run-stopping, and even blitzing. Sad to see him later leave the game with a hamstring injury.

More from Sports Dallas Fort-Worth

  • Seeing Byron Jones crashing the line with purpose and following it up with a complete whiff, harkens back memories of J.J. Wilcox and his weekly missed tackles. This season has been extremely disappointing for Jones, who was expected to break out in this his third NFL season. That said, I really liked Jones in man coverage against Martellus Bennett and think Jones is one of the better TE cover-men in the NFL. I’d even argue his coverage on Bennett’s long catch down the sideline was perfect and should have been pass interference.
  • I spoke of it last week but Orlando Scandrick is a target. He gives close coverage and he’s a solid tackler but he can’t catch therefore he’s no threat. Aaron Rodgers had a pair of passes that he didn’t even look at before he let the ball go. He just knew Scandy was in coverage and there was no risk of interception.
  • Ezekiel Elliott is clearly pressing to break plays, and he’s getting a little careless with the ball in the process. This offensive line is more to blame for the struggles of the running game, but Zeke needs to stay patient and protect the ball above all.
  • Along those same lines, we’re seeing Dak Prescott test the waters by somewhat-recklessly throwing the ball away amidst an almost certain sack. It’s risky and will come back to  bite this team.

    Next: Analyzing the fourth quarter collapse

    The drive-extending personal foul that led to the Cowboys opening drive touchdown was clearly a poor call. But speaking from the #DezCaughtIt perspective, we’re not even close to being even on bad calls. The questionable calls would continue, drawing Jason Garrett’s ire in the third quarter when Rodgers was essentially sacked, and Benson Mayowa was flagged for a questionable personal foul.