Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys preparing to defend against Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary

Packers receiver Randall Cobb (18) caught a Hail Mary pass from Aaron Rodgers on the final play of the first half Sunday.
Packers receiver Randall Cobb (18) caught a Hail Mary pass from Aaron Rodgers on the final play of the first half Sunday. AP

Morris Claiborne, when asked if he had ever had a Hail Mary caught on him, thought for a second. Then, the Cowboys cornerback quickly knocked on his locker behind him.

“Knock on wood,” Claiborne said.

Told it might not be real wood, Claiborne said, “Close enough.”

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has hit three last-gasp plays in 13 months, including at the end of the first half Sunday. His 42-yard pass into the end zone against the Giants landed in Randall Cobb’s hands for a touchdown and a 14-6 halftime lead.

The frequency doesn’t surprise Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr.

“Because they have a pretty good quarterback,” Carr said.

The Giants let Cobb get behind them in the back of the end zone, a no-no in defending a Hail Mary.

“Got to box out. Got to put a body on a body,” Carr said. “Just comes to discipline on that play. One jumper. Everybody else is boxing their man out.”

Rodgers threw a 61-yard touchdown to Richard Rodgers on an untimed down in a Dec. 3, 2015, game for an improbable victory over the Lions. He then threw another on a 41-yard pass to Jeff Janis on the final play of regulation in a divisional playoff game against the Cardinals, tying the game, though the Packers lost 26-20 in overtime.

“It’s a jump ball,” Carr said. “It’s a free for all. It’s a do whatever you can to not let those guys catch the ball.”

Claiborne expects the Cowboys to work on defending the Hail Mary this week, but then, he insists that won’t be unusual.

“Believe it or not, we work on it pretty much every day,” Claiborne said. “Pretty much every day is not too much that goes by in the NFL that we don’t work on. We don’t even have to like been through it or have to learn by mistake or something like that because coach [Jason] Garrett does a good job of when it happens to one team, he brings it back up to us the next week, and we’re already working on it.”

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