Prime Time Cowboys
The Green Bay Packers had a plan to stop Terrell Owens - and did it ever work.
Unfortunately for them, just about everyone else on the Dallas Cowboys offense had a big night in a 27-16 victory at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Even unheralded backup receiver Miles Austin got into the act with a pair of big catches.
Austin said all the attention the Packers paid to Owens opened things for everyone else.
``Him having two catches, 17 yards doesn't explain what he did,'' Austin said. ``He's attracting double coverage, triple coverage all the time. So for him to do that, it's almost bigger than him making the play.''
With Owens uncharacteristically silent on and off the field - he didn't talk after the game - Marion Barber ran for a career-high 142 yards and a touchdown, and rookie Felix Jones added a 60-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Then Austin, who plays mostly on special teams and came into Sunday's game with seven career receptions, sealed the win with a 52-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Dallas (3-0) joined the reigning Super Bowl champion New York Giants as the NFC's only undefeated teams.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who grew up in Burlington, Wis., was 17-of-30 for 260 yards. He said it was fun to play at Lambeau - it was the Cowboys' first victory there - but wasn't talking like a tourist after the game.
``We've got a good football team, I know that,'' Romo said. ``But it doesn't matter whether you're the favorite now or the least favorite. The reality of it is you've got to keep playing games and you're not trying to be the favorite in Week 3, you're trying to be it at the end of the year.''
Coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged that the Packers (2-1) didn't measure up in an early matchup of NFC powers, and seemed more displeased with his unproductive offense than his defense.
``It was a big game, it was a great measuring stick for our football team,'' McCarthy said. ``And I'll tell you exactly what I told them, the Dallas Cowboys are farther ahead than we are right now, and that's the facts, and it's Week 3. How much farther ahead, we'll answer that question. We have work to do.''
It was a bump in the road for new Packers starter Aaron Rodgers, who completed 22 of 39 passes for 290 yards. He spent much of the night on the run - he was sacked five times - and wasn't able to put together consistent scoring drives after standout performances in his first two games this season.
``It's disappointing,'' Rodgers said. ``You'd like to win them all, obviously, but Dallas is a very good football team and we unfortunately didn't play our best. We're going to have to watch some film, be very critical of ourselves and get better.''
With Green Bay trailing 13-6, Rodgers connected with Donald Driver on a 50-yard pass early in the third quarter - but the Packers settled for a field goal.
``You've got to finish that drive off, get the momentum back, get the crowd back,'' Rodgers said.
Romo answered with a 63-yard pass to Austin to set up first-and-goal at the Green Bay 3. Barber found the end zone two plays later for a 2-yard touchdown run that put Dallas ahead 20-9.
Romo again turned to Austin to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, tossing a 52-yard touchdown into double coverage down the right sideline to give Dallas a 27-9 lead with 9:17 remaining.
Rodgers scored on a sneak to cut the lead to 27-16 with 2:11 remaining, but the ensuing onside kick was touched by the Packers before it traveled 10 yards.
The long passes to Austin were two of the Cowboys' few downfield plays all night. The Packers held Romo to nine completions for 75 yards at halftime.
Owens caught two passes in the first half, then was silenced in the second. Packers cornerback Charles Woodson stuck to Owens all night, with significant help from the safeties.
``He's going to have games where he's going to have 200 yards, and he's going to have games where he has not as many yards,'' Austin said. ``He did a great job staying with it, he was involved in the game the whole time.''
The Packers' pass defense played most of the game without star cornerback Al Harris, who went to the locker room with cramps in the first half.
But with Green Bay's defensive backfield preoccupied by Owens, Dallas got consistent production from Barber and a big play from Jones. With the Cowboys trailing 6-3 midway through the second quarter, Jones broke free for a 60-yard touchdown run that gave Dallas a 10-6 lead.
Notes: Cowboys CB Adam Jones stripped the ball from RB Ryan Grant on the Packers' second play from scrimmage and returned it to the Green Bay 14. That set up the Cowboys' first field goal. ... Packers receiver Greg Jennings had eight catches for 115 yards.
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