Packers continue to haunt Cowboys, as Jordan Love ascends on playoff stage

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As the NFL’s youngest team — and the youngest to make the postseason in at least half a century — the Packers went into AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. and gave the world a show, ending the Cowboys’ season and advancing in a 48-32 blowout that was not as close as the final score would imply.

Of the five youngest teams since 1970 to make the playoffs, Green Bay is the only one to win a playoff game. Quarterback Jordan Love, in his first year as starter, went 16/21 for 279 yards and three touchdowns. His QB rating was 157.2; nearly as perfect as his day.

With 3:15 left in the third quarter, Love had only been pressured on 23.5% of his dropbacks and completed all four of those throws for 114 yards and a touchdown when under pressure, according to NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund. The Cowboys had previously led the league in pressuring the quarterback on 42.5% of dropbacks in the regular season.

Love was composed from the very beginning and looked like a 10-year veteran.

The Packers’ dominance was so apparent and immediate that social media could be forgiven for wondering which was the young, inexperienced team on the field. It certainly didn’t look like the Green and Gold after Love led a textbook 12-play, 75-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock to start the game. Green Bay had won the opening coin toss and elected to receiver. Head coach Matt LaFleur wanted to make a statement.

LaFleur then hammered the team coached by his Green Bay predecessor with running back Aaron Jones, as if everyone didn’t already see that coming. Yet, as familiar as Mike McCarthy is with Jones (he drafted him back in 2017), the Cowboys were powerless to stop him. Jones ended the day with three touchdowns (along with 131 yards from scrimmage), maintaining his incredible play against his hometown team.

After a Dak Prescott second-quarter interception that Darnell Savage returned for a touchdown, Green Bay led 27-0.

Green Bay also rediscovered second-year receiver Romeo Doubs, who seemed completely unaccounted for by the Dallas defense. Doubs caught six passes for 151 yards, almost all of them chunk plays made out of structure off Love’s back foot as he bought time for Doubs to get open. Love was the first quarterback to throw to Doubs back in the 2022 preseason. That relationship has officially come a long way, as has Love’s relationship with all of his young guys.

Even rookie tight end Luke Musgrave finally found the end zone on the tight end leak play his teammates love so much. According to Next Gen Stats, there was no one within 16 yards of Musgrave when he made the catch. It put Green Bay up 41-16 in the third quarter.

Jordan Love throws for 272 yards and three TDs in Packers’ 48-32 win over Cowboys

Jordan Love throws for 272 yards and three TDs in Packers' 48-32 win over Cowboys

The Packers were supposed to be ‘happy to be here’ in the postseason. No one expected anything out of an offense led by a first-year starter with young weapons across the board and a defense that had issues most of the season. The story for the first 12 or so games was how the defense under coordinator Joe Barry was yet again failing to live up to its talent level with eight first-round picks on that side of the ball. 

It was supposed to be a unit that Love could lean on as he figured things out. Instead, for most of the season, it was the opposite. There were two games in particular, against Atlanta and the New York Giants, where Love and the offense mounted a comeback only for the defense to give a game away.

Yet, it didn’t seem to hinder the development of Love and his first-and-second-year receivers. Neither did injuries or offensive line shuffling. Green Bay just needed a little bit of time and in front of the entire country, in a win-or-go-home game, they announced themselves to the world, almost like an infant sending its own birth announcement.

The Pack is back.

And it barely even left.

Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen had previous stops with The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, including 2020, which added the title of Super Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You can follow Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.


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