Special teams put Cowboys on heels

A week ago, the Packers were riding high after rolling over the Detroit Lions. Because of special-teams breakdowns, however, the Packers sent James Whitley's head rolling.

If Packers coach Mike Sherman was trying to send a message, it was received loud and clear. Not only did the Packers dominate the Dallas Cowboys on offense and defense Sunday, but the special teams dominated as well.

A week after allowing Detroit's Eddie Drummond to average 30.3 yards per kickoff return and 24.0 yards per punt return — his long for the season was 5 yards entering the game — Green Bay kept the Cowboys in a perpetual field-position hole due to outstanding play by the coverage units.

Dallas' ReShard Lee averaged 16.0 yards per kickoff return and newcomer Quincy Morgan was held to just 12.5 yards. The punt-coverage team had an easy day due to Green Bay's offensive efficiency. Lance Frazier ran back his only punt return 9 yards.

On the opening kickoff Sunday, Ryan Longwell drilled the ball to the 1-yard line, and Morgan brought it back 19 yards to the 20. Longwell's second kickoff was a touchback. Longwell's third kickoff went to the 7, and Morgan returned it just 6 yards to the 13. Kickoff No. 4 was short, getting to the 17, but Jacques Reeves managed only a 6-yard return to the 23.

That's four kickoffs, with Dallas' starting field position being just the 19-yard line.

In the second half, Dallas did only slightly better, starting at the 25-yard line on three Packers kickoffs.

Barker had an easy day, but his last punt landed at the 8-yard line and was downed at the 1-yard line by rookie Joey Thomas. If Thomas didn't make the play, Jason Horton was there to do the same.

Meanwhile, Green Bay's return teams produced. The Packers used some faux chicanery on the first two Dallas kickoffs, running fake reverses on each of them. On both kickoffs, Najeh Davenport fielded the ball and faked a handoff, once to Antonio Chatman and once to Robert Ferguson. The ploy worked, with Davenport returning the first kickoff 24 yards to the 39 and the second 27 yards to the 37. On the latter, Davenport was stripped of the ball but backup linebacker Torrance Marshall was there to save the day.

Robert Ferguson got the first two chances of the second half, tallying returns of 23 yards to the 28-yard line and 34 yards to the 37.

All told, Green Bay averaged 23.8 yards per kickoff return to Dallas' 11.3.

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