GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 15: Roy Williams #11 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a pass in front of Nick Collins #36 of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on November 15, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
What began as a promising day for the Dallas Cowboys turned ugly quickly in Green Bay on Sunday afternoon, as they fell to the Packers 17-7 in a grotesque, slow-moving and painful (in every sense of the word) 60 minutes of football.
After a three and out by Green Bay to open the game, Dallas took over and drove to the Packers' 19 yard line on seven plays. After being stopped by the Packers' defense, playing without Pro Bowler Aaron Kampman, and being pushed to the 20, Nick Folk missed a 38 yard field goal. This would begin a long day of frustration and missed opportunities for Dallas.
On the ensuing drive, Mason Crosby missed a 52 yarder, leaving the score tied at nothing.
Dallas narrowly missed a touchdown, as Orlando Scandrick sacked Aaron Rodgers, the first of four on the day for Rodgers, recovered the fumble and took it to the end zone. However, an illegal hands to the face penalty on Mike Jenkins nullified the play.
The Cowboys squandered another opportunity in the second quarter as, on a first and ten, Tony Romo hit Roy Williams in the middle of the field for 42 yards. Williams, in cutting to the sideline, fumbled, giving Green Bay the ball back. Keeping with the uneventful nature of the first half, the possession resulted only in a three and out for Green Bay.
Two possessions later, the Packers (finally) struck first with a 48 yard Mason Crosby field goal as time ran out on the half.
The third quarter saw no scoring, but ended with the Packers in the red zone and driving. Five plays, a Green Bay challenge and an inexplicable Dallas timeout into the fourth, Rodgers snuck into the end zone to put the score, with the Crosby extra point, at 10-0 Green Bay.
Then the weird got weirder, and the ugly got uglier.
Tony Romo was sacked by the Packers' Charles Woodson on a second down and six on the ensuing drive, fumbling as he was blasted from the blind side (also a recurring theme). Felix Jones appeared to recover the fumble. In fact, it was quite clear that he did, before having it ripped from his grasp. However, no whistles were blown as Clay Matthews took the ball to the Dallas seven.
Wade Phillips threw the challenge flag--a good idea, certainly, but the call is not one that can be reviewed.
Three plays later, Rodgers hit Spencer Havner for a touchdown.
After answering with a 14-play, 79-yard drive, Romo was intercepted at the goal line by Charles Woodson, the third giveaway of the game by Dallas, effectively sealing the loss.
Romo was left in the game, for reasons of avoiding the shutout, which he did. In the waning minutes of the fourth, Romo hit Williams for a nine-yard touchdown pass, bringing the final to 17-7. Had he not, it would have been the first shutout of Dallas since the Quincy Carter-led Cowboys of 2003 were blanked in New England in 2003.
The futile Dallas effort was highlighted by a stat line that includes a missed field goal, three turnovers, three dropped passes and five sacks allowed. But it doesn't end there. Marc Colombo, Dallas's starting right tackle, left with a broken left fibula; Ken Hamlin (groin) and Mike Jenkins (bicep) also left the game.
With the loss, Dallas goes to 6-3, still in lead of the NFC East going into next week's showdown with the Washington Redskins.