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Packers Salvage Season, Dominate Cowboys In Win


For possibly the first time this season, the Green Bay Packers came to play.

After an embarrassing loss one week ago to the winless Buccaneers, the Packers defense stifled the potent Cowboy offense and kept hope alive for a playoff berth in the crowded NFC. The offense was less than outstanding, scoring only 17 points, seven of which were set up by a fumble recovery deep in Dallas territory, but on this day that was enough.

Cornerback Charles Woodson led the defensive effort, recording an interception, a sack, two forced fumbles and nine tackles. The defense held the Cowboys scoreless until 38 seconds remained in the game, a vast improvement over last week's poor performance.

Coming into the game, the Cowboys ranked third in total yards, rushing yards and passing yards and tied for fifth in points. But the Packer defense was able to get pressure on quarterback Tony Romo, sacking him five times, intercepting him once and forcing a fumble.

The dangerous running back trio of Marion Barber, Tashard Choice and Felix Jones were held to just 45 yards. The biggest play Dallas was able to muster came on a 42 yard reception by Roy Williams, but Woodson forced him to fumble and the ball was recovered by the Packers.

The Packer defense, led by coordinator Dom Capers, might finally be coming around. By controlling the running game, the defense was able to force Dallas into third and long situations and blitz more freely than they have all season.

After the debacle in Tampa Bay, the Packers needed a performance like Sunday's. With their backs against the wall and their playoff hopes at stake, they turned in a dominating performance against one of the NFC's best teams. The Cowboys brought a four-game win streak into Lambeau Field, but were turned back by a Packer team desperate to salvage something of their season.

“The Tampa game was so embarrassing to us, everybody was so ready to get back to practice and get better,” nose tackle Ryan Pickett said.

The Packers have a good chance to gain some momentum, with upcoming games against the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions and could get to 7-4 before taking on the Baltimore Ravens.

While it was only one game, the win has to build confidence for a young team that was reeling after a pathetic performance against Tampa Bay. The Packers still have a long way to go before they can consider themselves a playoff-caliber team, but Sunday's win against a tough opponent is a good start.

"We need to knock off some games in a row. We’re capable of doing it and I think we’re going to do it. I think we have a good team and we’ve been underachieving for the first eight games. This next half, we need to make a run,” Pickett said.


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