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Eatman: Couldn't Stop Aaron, Or That Rodgers Guy


GREEN BAY, Wisc. – Sometimes, you just can't beat the guy.

The Cowboys never could beat Randy Moss. They still haven't beaten Tom Brady, and who knows if they'll get another shot.

But this guy, this guy who was supposed to be struggling and too old and maybe hit that proverbial wall in his career, this is the GOAT who truly has the Cowboys' number.

OK cool, the Cowboys have actually beaten Aaron Rodgers twice – once in 2008 and another in 2016. The Olympics is played more often than that.

I guess it just wasn't the Cowboys' day to knock off Rodgers for a third time. But the truth was, I'm not even sure Rodgers was the best "Aaron" on the field.

The Cowboys had no answer for the Packers' running game, which is becoming more and more of a problem. Aaron Jones torched this team for 138 rushing yards and had a huge run in the fourth quarter on the Packers' attempt to tie the game.

But honestly, this game changed on the previous possession. It's ironic to say that a game that went to overtime was nearly a blowout. But that might have happened had it not been for one play early in the fourth quarter with the Cowboys up 28-14.

Green Bay was facing fourth-and-7 early in the quarter at the Cowboys' 39-yard line. All the defense has to do is get a stop, and this one is over. The game is over, maybe the Packers' season is over and, yes, that Aaron Rodgers Curse would've been over too.

But no, Rodgers throws his best pass of the day, lofting it to Jerry Rice, I mean Christian Watson, who torched the Cowboys for three touchdowns. That one was Watson's second and kept the Packers in the game, giving them enough time for Rodgers to drive down again to tie it and then win it in overtime.

That puts Rodgers at 9-2 lifetime against the Cowboys, including the playoffs. And for a guy who was supposed to be losing a step, he seemed nearly perfect to me. In fact, his QB rating was pretty close to perfect, finishing at 146.7 on 14 of 20 passing with three touchdowns and no picks.

No picks. That's interesting because that's probably the biggest stat differential of this game regarding Rodgers and Dak Prescott. Yeah, Dak had the yards, 265 to be exact, and also had three touchdowns. But it was two crucial interceptions, including one in the end zone as the Cowboys were about to go up either 14-0 or at least 10-0 in the second quarter.

That one, to me, was just unforgiveable. Yeah, it's on Dak but also on Kellen Moore and the play-calling. You just got a fumble from DeMarcus Lawrence after taking a 7-0 lead. You've got first-and-goal from the 10-yard line, which everyone should know is one of the hardest places to score a touchdown. Being aggressive here just doesn't make a ton of sense. You've got a 7-0 lead already and about to go up two scores on a team that has lost five straight games and clearly has a confidence issue.

But Dak forced the ball into three defenders on third down. Honestly, I don't really care if Dalton Schultz is supposed to "cross the defender" or not. I see a lot of people blaming Dak for throwing it or Schultz for not flattening the route. Who cares? You play with fire, you get burned. And forcing the ball into that area on third down when there's only 20 yards of room to play with, that's asking for it. The Packers get the pick and turned it into points.

Later in the quarter, Dak threw another interception when, once again, maybe it was his fault and maybe it was CeeDee Lamb's. Either way, get on the same page or stop floating the ball over the middle. That's two games in a row before halftime that Dak threw a pick. Both times, I've seen where it might be on CeeDee for his route. Both times, it's resulted in a momentum-changing turnover.

And that's just it – against THAT GUY on the other side, you can't do that. Rodgers doesn't make that mistake, at least not against the Cowboys.

Yeah, we heard all week that he threw three picks against the Lions. But in no way did I think it was going to carry over into Sunday's game.

I obviously didn't cover the Packers when Mike McCarthy was coaching Rodgers, but there have been too many stories written over the years to not believe the two had some issues. Doesn't matter what the details are, it's pretty clear there was some beef between the two and that's why both sides wanted this game really bad.

It's also why McCarthy showed the most emotion in the postgame press conference that I've ever seen from him, displaying the frustration of a team that could've and should've won this game, but didn't.

But they didn't because their guy was good, but he wasn't as great as the other guy. And that other guy just knows how to beat the Cowboys – especially when it matters most.

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