by Troy A. Sparks
GREEN BAY – There were plenty of storylines attached to the Green Bay and Dallas matchups over the years since the Cowboys’ existence in 1960. Dallas is the Packers’ rival to the south.
The fans are just as hyped up in this rivalry as they are against the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings. In fact, the Green Bay vs. Dallas series began with the two coaches who were assistants on the New York Giants.
I liked the Cowboys when they were dubbed as “America’s Team” back in the ‘70’s. Most of us remembered when there was a nighttime soap opera named after that city. You didn’t hear of a show called “Chicago” or “Minnesota” on TV, did you?
In the first six games of the Packers-Cowboys series, Vince Lombardi’s teams waxed Tom Landry’s squads, winning by an average margin of 15 points. The Packers won those games that the two teams played in the ‘60’s, which included the famous Ice Bowl game in 1967. A little side note: Frank Clarke, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s uncle, was a star player for the Cowboys in the ‘60’s.
The Packers lost eight straight games to the Cowboys in the ‘90’s, including the playoffs, by an average margin of 13.5 points. In the last 15 previous seasons, including the playoffs, they fared better with a 3-1 record at home than in Dallas, in which they are 0-5. The two teams didn’t face each other from 2000-03.
Since 1995, the three “Mikes” (Holmgren, Sherman and McCarthy) were a combined 3-6 against Dallas. Ray Rhodes also lost to the Cowboys in 1999 in his only season as head coach of the Packers. Sherman was 1-0 against Dallas, winning in 2004.
This is the third year in a row that Dallas came to us. The Cowboys are hurting right now physically and entered the game with a 1-6 record. Quarterback Tony Romo is out with an injury and their confidence is low. I think the Packers, who were 5-3 entering the game, kicked them while they were down, like they did us almost 20 years ago.
There’s only one person who would pencil himself in the lineup the next game after breaking a collarbone as Romo did and playing against doctor’s orders. That was the same guy we beat several weeks ago at Lambeau Field, cracked ankle and all.
I wish the NBC crew had a better game to hype up, being that they were satisfied with the Packers-Vikings game. Maybe they should’ve left some of their production equipment up here because they were coming back to Lambeau.
Jerry Jones, the Cowboys’ owner, isn’t happy with the team. Just think: a new stadium in Texas, and the only real action that was more exciting in Cowboys Stadium than the football team was the Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito fight, Nov. 13.
Green Bay (6-3) got a jump start on Dallas (1-7) in the game. They dominated on the scoreboard with a 28-7 halftime lead. They held the ball almost 10 minutes longer than the Cowboys and held the visitors to less than 100 yards in two quarters. All cylinders were clicking for the Packers with their running, passing and defensive touchdowns.
A 35-7 score by Green Bay at the end of the third quarter demonstrated how much of a wax job Dallas got. The Packers did enough to rattle the Cowboys and run them out of town.
The green and gold put up 10 more points on the board with a Mason Crosby field goal and an interception for a TD by linebacker Clay Matthews to lead 45-7, which was the final score.
“It was a blitz,” said Matthews of his interception. “I turned around, and I just had a layup right there for me. I just ran like a little kid. Those receivers were kind of fast, but I still got the touchdown. I still need to work on my Lambeau Leap skills.”
The NFL should adopt the mercy rule for points: Keep the clock running if the scoring margin is 35 or more points.
Matthews is playing out of this world. He’s sacking quarterbacks, making bone-jarring hits and scoring some touchdowns. If he doesn’t make the Pro Bowl, then something’s wrong with the voting system.
With Green Bay in control of the game, putting backup quarterback Matt Flynn in was a good move because Aaron Rodgers’ night was done. The Packers won three in a row after starting the season at 3-3.
“We’re a half a game up in the division,” Rodgers said. “Definitely, our mindset was, there’s a lot of confidence in the locker room. We were 3-3, coming off two straight losses in overtime. And there was definitely some doubts creeping in, wondering what the last 10 (regular season games) would hold for us, realizing that we needed to make a push (the previous) three games, and we did.”
The Packers are working towards their goal of making the playoffs, courtesy of a three-game winning streak. This could’ve been a trap game and a tough one to swallow a loss against a bad team that had nothing to lose.
“We put together a couple of good weeks,” linebacker A.J. Hawk said. The team need some time off during their bye week to rest and recover from their injuries. Get some rest, boys, because Minnesota and Atlanta will wait for you when you go to their cities.
No one has to remind Jones of the 1-15 record that he inherited as the Cowboys’ owner. Maybe he should fire everyone in the organization and start all over.