DAL-GB Grades: Lacy and Starks take over the turf
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from Green Bay’s 28-7 win over Dallas:
Green Bay Packers
– Green Bay’s running back duo of Eddie Lacy (+2.3) and James Starks (+2.4) gave the Packers all they needed to churn out this win. While Lacy was on his way to 124 rushing yards, 73 yards after contact, a touchdown, and seven missed tackles forced, Starks added 71 yards of his own and a pair of scores, one coming on a smooth second-quarter swing pass from Rodgers.
– QB Aaron Rodgers (+1.3) didn’t post his biggest day statistically—and he didn’t have to with the way the Packers controlled the game on the ground—but he did many of the not-so-easy little things well, as he often does. Hitting a far hash hitch for a first down, avoiding an unblocked sack with a throwaway, picking up a key first down with his legs, twisting to make a tough throw for a score while rolling to his left—another day at the office for Rodgers.
– Though it likely wasn’t the toughest challenge they faced this season, the Packers’ defense did a fine job in coverage, limiting Dallas to just 114 yards through the air on 13 completions and only 10 completions on 20 attempts, where their front was unable to generate pressure. Rookie CBs Damarious Randall (+1.1) and Quinten Rollins (+0.8) contributed to the effort, allowing a combined three catches on eight targets for 31 yards, with Randall adding a PD.
HB James Starks (+2.4)
HB Eddie Lacy (+2.3)
RG T.J. Lang (+2.2)
DE Mike Pennel (+1.6)
WR Randall Cobb (+1.5)
– DE Demarcus Lawrence (+1.6) landed another grade above +1.0, and once again filled up the pass-rushing section of the stat sheet. A sack, a hit and three hurries are what Lawrence collected this week to bring his total pressure count to 16 over the last five weeks—a span in which he’s posted a top-10 overall grade among 4-3 DEs (+7.5) and has been seventh-best as a pass rusher.
– Targeted six times on the day, WR Dez Bryant (-3.1) was able to contribute just one catch. Three of the missed opportunities were on him in the form of drops (after not logging a drop in the past three games) and one of those went for an interception in the end zone. Not the best day for the Dallas star, as he looked fully out of sync, continuing an odd season that has seen him up and down in grading since returning from injury.
– QB Matt Cassel wasn’t able to build on the positive mark he earned in Week 13, instead matching his lowest game grade of the season with a -3.0. Cassel connected on just 3-of-10 attempts of more than 10 yards (and 13-of-28 overall). Four dropped passes (including one on his lone interception) didn’t help, but neither did him going 4-of-11 for 30 yards when blitzed.
CB Brandon Carr (+2.6)
RG Zack Martin (+2.2)
TE Jason Witten (+1.9)
DE DeMarcus Lawrence (+1.6)
LT Tyron Smith (+1.5)