AP Game Story: Packers Dominate Cowboys, Head Into Bye With 45-7 Win


GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Having just sat through the lowest point in a lost season, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones couldn't quite put his finger on what is wrong with his team.

Because, as he explained, he doesn't have enough fingers.

Aaron Rodgers threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns, Brandon Jackson scored twice and the Green Bay Packers routed the free-falling Cowboys 45-7 on Sunday night.

Now it remains to be seen whether Dallas coach Wade Phillips will make it through the end of the season -- or, for that matter, the end of the week.

"I've got a lot of work to do. I've got a lot of decisions to make and it's not just one, two, three or four," Jones said. "There's several decisions. I think everybody in this country would agree, there's a lot wrong with this team that I've got to address and certainly I'm the one to address it."

Every time it seemed as though the sluggish Cowboys hit their low point Sunday, Rodgers and the Packers (6-3) knocked them down another notch. James Jones caught eight passes for 123 yards and a touchdown for Green Bay, which has won three straight.

"There's a lot of confidence in that locker room," Rodgers said. "We were 3-3 coming off two straight losses in overtime -- there were definitely some doubts creeping in, wondering what the last 10 would hold for us and realizing that we had to make a push here."

It was a new nadir for the Cowboys (1-7), who came into 2010 with Super Bowl aspirations. And it's sure to kick off a new round of speculation about Phillips, despite recent statements from Jones that he wasn't inclined to fire a coach in midseason.

While Jones wouldn't directly address Phillips' future after the game, it's safe to say that Sunday's rout might change his thinking.

Phillips brushed off questions about his future and said his message to the team was simple: don't quit.

"You're going to keep working, you're going to keep moving forward," Phillips said. "It sounds like a hollow message right now, but that's really the way it is."

Green Bay's Clay Matthews added a final dose of embarrassment in the fourth quarter, picking off a pass from Jon Kitna and running it back 62 yards for a touchdown.

Matthews wasn't happy with the celebratory "Lambeau Leap" he tried to perform afterward, joking that he might spend part of the Packers' upcoming bye week working on his leaps into the grandstands.

"I think I might actually hang back and work on my Lambeau Leap skills," he said.

Dallas fell behind 28-0 late in the second quarter, giving up three long touchdown drives before fumbling away a kickoff that was returned for a TD by Nick Collins. Return man Bryan McCann appeared to be down before he gave the ball away -- but the Cowboys didn't have any timeouts left, so they weren't able to challenge the call.

It was just another misstep in a colossal downward spiral.

Meanwhile, the Packers continued to show how a team with Super Bowl expectations is supposed to handle a disappointing start to the season.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he expected his team to play well -- but even he was surprised at the lopsided result.

"I'm not going to sit here and say I expected the score to be what it was," McCarthy said.

Green Bay has won three in a row after opening 3-3, including an emotional Sunday night home win over Brett Favre and the Vikings followed by a 9-0 road shutout of the New York Jets last week. Beating the talented but troubled Cowboys gives the Packers another boost of momentum heading into their bye week.

About the only serious mistake for the Packers was a personal foul penalty on Collins, flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cowboys receiver Roy E. Williams in the third quarter. Collins could be in line for additional punishment as the NFL cracks down on illegal hits this season.

Longtime Packers receiver Donald Driver sat out with a quadriceps injury, but Jones and Greg Jennings were able to pick up the slack in the passing game. Jennings had seven catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Green Bay's defense contained Cowboys quarterback Kitna, who again was filling in for an injured Tony Romo and threw for 183 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

"This is a big win for us, regardless of the record and regardless of who came in here tonight," Charles Woodson said. "It's a positive for us to go into the bye week like that. It will be good for us to reflect on this game and know what we're capable of as a whole team. If we play the whole game, all three phases of the game, we can have dominant performances like this."

Game notes
Williams said he was fine after the helmet-to-helmet hit from Collins, then appealed to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell not to fine Collins for the hit. "Commissioner Goodell, don't fine the guy," Williams said. "It wasn't that bad of a deal, he shouldn't get fined. It was a football play, a football player making a football play. No injury, no harm." ... Packers DE Ryan Pickett injured his ankle in the second quarter. McCarthy said X-rays were negative and the team would know more Monday. ... Cowboys DE Marcus Spears left the game with a calf injury.

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