To this point linebacker Brandon Chillar's opportunities have been limited to special teams, but for a player who is known for his abilities in pass coverage, a Dallas offense featuring a Pro Bowl tight end was a good time for him to get on the field.
Chillar, who was the Packers' lone free agent acquisition this offseason after playing for St. Louis the past four seasons, got the starting nod at the 'Sam' linebacker position after playing primarily on special teams the first two games. He entered the game with a team-leading five tackles on special teams.
Chillar entered training camp in competition with incumbent Brady Poppinga for the starting job, and said he thought the start Sunday night was based more on the matchup with Cowboys' talented tight end Jason Witten.
"I think it was just a one-game thing and we'll see where it goes from here," Chillar said. "Brady's a good player and he plays very well against the run. I think we just had a good matchup with me and the tight end and we'll see where it goes."
Witten finished the night with seven catches for 67 yards, but didn't get in the end zone and had only two receptions of more than 10 yards. Chillar did make eight tackles, good for third on the team.
Chillar made a big hit on running back Marion Barber in the second quarter to force a fumble, but the ball flew into the arms of tight end Tony Curtis, who took it for 14 more yards.
Not many opportunities
Green Bay rushed for 84 yards Sunday night on a season-low 21 carries, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers said the Packers falling behind contributed to the limited opportunities for the running backs.
"Unfortunately the score of the game kind of dictated our play-calling a little bit," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "I thought early on we were (committed) and we tried at times.
"That's the key to the running game, is converting those third downs, so you can have a new set of downs and be able to have a good run/pass option on first down. Unfortunately we didn't convert those third downs tonight."
Starting running back Ryan Grant, who has been slowed by a hamstring injury, carried the ball 13 times for 54 yards (4.2 avg.), but appeared to have more of his burst back against the Cowboys.
"I thought he's getting closer to his old self," McCarthy said. "I have not talked to him or he didn't show up on the medical sheet, so hopefully he came out clean tonight and we can move forward another week."
Cornerback Al Harris left the game in the second quarter because of cramps, but also had blood in his urine, and was unable to return.
Wide receiver James Jones left on first series of game with knee injury but did return in the second quarter.
Linebacker Nick Barnett left the game with a bruised elbow toward the end of the first quarter but did return.
Safety Nick Collins left for a series in second quarter and was sidelined for good after sustaining a bruised back in the third quarter tackling Dallas wide receiver Miles Austin on the 63-yard pass play.
Chillar went to the sidelines briefly on the first series of second half after having the wind knocked out of him, but did return.
The Packers' inactives were quarterback Brian Brohm (third quarterback), safety Atari Bigby, cornerback Pat Lee, fullback Korey Hall, tackle Breno Giacomini, wide receiver Ruvell Martin, guard Josh Sitton and defensive end Jeremy Thompson.
Several Milwaukee Brewers players, including first baseman Prince Fielder and pitchers CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets, were in attendance at Sunday night's game.
The Brewers played Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati, topping the Reds 8-1.
The attendance Sunday night was 71,113, the largest regular-season crowd ever at Lambeau Field. It topped the mark of previous record of 71,004 set in the season-opener vs. Minnesota.