For the second time this year, Aaron Rodgers kicked the Dallas Cowboys in their proverbial man parts.
Back in January, it was Rodgers completing a third-and-20 play to set up the game-winning field goal at AT&T Stadium to win the NFC divisional playoff game.
And on Sunday, there was Rodgers, headed in the same direction, facing a third-and-8 play with 35 seconds remaining. Cowboys defensive linemen Benson Mayowa and David Irving nearly got him, but of course they didn’t.
He had been sacked four times, but it was the fifth the Cowboys needed.
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Rodgers completed an 18-yard scramble down to the Cowboys’ 12 to set up a game-winning touchdown throw in a 35-31 Packers win.
The Cowboys are 2-3 entering the bye, and the proud owners of a two-game losing streak, both at home.
This was a game the Cowboys led 21-6 in the second quarter. They blew that, but, thanks to the play of Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott, they took the lead back with 1:13 remaining in the game.
They had to know 1:13 was too much time for Aaron Rodgers.
That and three other rants after the Cowboys’ latest loss.
1. It’s not just Big 12 refs that are terrible. The NFL refs were hard at work on Sunday to discredit themselves, and they got busy right away with this.
In the first quarter, Dak Prescott’s third down pass into the end zone for Dez Bryant was dropped, but the refs decided they still feel badly about “The Catch?” from the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff game and gave the Cowboys a gift; the refs called Packers linebacker Blake Martinez for unnecessary roughness. It’s amazing because Martinez did not hit Dez.
The Cowboys scored a touchdown on the next play.
In third quarter, Rodgers was trying to get rid of the ball near his own 4-yard line and was hit by Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, which was a clean sack. It was the follow hit by Benson Mayowa that drew a 15-yard penalty. It was a borderline call that had more makeup than a case of lipstick (you can use that).
And then in the fourth quarter, the refs blew the official spot with about 2 minutes remaining in the game. The latter allowed the Cowboys to gain a first down on a fourth-and-1 run by Elliott that originally was spotted as short.
Fortunately, both the Cowboys and the Packers challenged the spot to catch these “regrettable errors of human oversight.”
1.5 Sunday’s game was another reminder that the designers of AT&T Stadium weren’t thinking it through when they thought that putting the field East/West was a good idea.
The late afternoon sun ripped through the giant windows at the West end of the stadium to create a hazard for anyone facing in that direction.
It begs the question: What were they thinking when they spent more than $1 billion for this place to run the field facing a setting sun? Was it a gag?
2. Terrance Williams got paid, and has done nothing. The receiver from Baylor had a horrible day on Sunday. It started early in the first quarter on a 49-yard pass play to Brice Butler when Williams made zero attempt to block during a play that could have gone for even more yardage.
That was nothing compared to the damage T-Will would later do. With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Dak Prescott’s short pass went through T-Will’s fingers and ended up in in the hands of Damarious Randall, who returned it 21 yards for a touchdown.
It was the first pick-six thrown by Dak in his career, and marked his fourth interception this season. He threw four picks all of last season.
Back to T-Will. The Cowboys gave him a four-year, $17 million deal in the of-fseason, with $9.5 million guaranteed.
He’s been non-existent this season. Williams 19 receptions for 180 and no touchdowns this season. He does, however, have a nice assist on a Packers touchdown.
2. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers needs to be mentioned as one of the most accurate passers ever. This is the guy you want to enter a State Fair competition in the ring toss, or bat flip. He’s winning the giant teddy bear no one can win.
He had two throws against the Cowboys that are not of this earth. Probably a third and a fourth that I’m missing, too.
The first was with 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter when he hit receiver Devonte Adams with a pass that dropped in directly into his arms without requiring anything other than sticking out his arms and hands. If that.
The other was the second play of the third quarter when Rodgers, on the run to his right, lofted a perfect pass to tight end Martellus Bennett for a 35-yard gain.
Cowboys safety Byron Jones was in coverage, and Rodgers simply put the ball in a place where only his guy could catch it.
Of course, there is no need to mention Rodgers’ 18-yard run in the final minute on a third-and-eight that set up the game-winning touchdown pass.
2.5 The return of Anthony Hitchens from injury and David Irving from suspension make a difference. Irving had two sacks, and Hitchens nearly had an interception inside the 5-yard line. Neither of these guys are Pro Bowlers, but they are solid players for a defense that needs them.
3. The best young Cowboys defensive player is not Taco Charlton or Jaylon Smith but rookie Jourdan Lewis. Charlton looks absolutely lost so far.
The rookie defensive back from Michigan, who has had some hamstring issues since he was drafted, had six tackles and three pass break ups on Sunday.
Of course, just as I say that he is the DB who got popped for the game-winning touchdown pass with 11 seconds remaining.
There will be better days, because most guys get burned by Aaron Rodgers.
Mac Engel: @macengelprof