Packers feeling blue in red zone

The Packers come away with field goals in first three trips inside the Dallas 20-yard line.

Coach Mike McCarthy summed up the Packers' red-zone production in one three-word statement:

"Not very good."

Running back Ryan Grant needed one less word:

"Not acceptable."

The Packers got inside the Cowboys' 20-yard line four times on Sunday night, and managed three field goals and one cosmetic touchdown once the game was out of hand.

Rodgers called his red-zone play his "biggest frustration" of Green Bay's 27-16 loss.

"We came away with three field goals," Rodgers said. "That's a big problem there, and we've got to fix it. We've got to finish those drives off with touchdowns."

The killer came in the third quarter, with the Packers trailing 13-6. Rodgers hit Donald Driver for a 50-yard gain to the Cowboys' 8, but a short run by Grant preceded two sacks against Rodgers.

The Packers got a field goal out of it, but when Dallas answered with a touchdown, it was a two-score game.

"You've got to finish that drive off with seven," Rodgers said. "Get the momentum back, get the crowd back. The crowd was great tonight, but we just couldn't keep them involved in the game enough."

Rodgers also took a costly sack on the Packers' first excursion into the Cowboys' red zone. On third-and-6 from the Dallas 7, Rodgers was taken down on a corner blitz by cornerback Anthony Henry. Henry beat a block by Brandon Jackson and took down a scrambling Rodgers.

On the Packers' next possession, they faced third-and-4 from the Dallas 20. Rodgers threw a strike to James Jones — who was back in the game after injuring a knee on the first snap of the game — but Jones couldn't hang on with tight coverage by Adam Jones.

"Red zone and third down are two critical situations in a game, and offensively we didn't play very well in the red zone and we didn't play very well in third down," McCarthy said on Monday. "They had a blitz, we practiced it a number of times this week and both times we didn't get it picked up and it resulted in hits and sacks on third down there. That's what I'm talking about detailing your work. So, it wasn't no big exotic scheme that we were surprised by. It was base fundamental football that we need to do a better job."

 Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com


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