The Dallas Cowboys were the unfortunate victims on Sunday night.
They found out what happens when the Green Bay Packers put it all together and play a complete football game.
“This is Packer offense, this is Packer defense and this is Packer special teams,” said running back Brandon Jackson, who scored a pair of touchdowns. “When we go out and we play like this every week we will continue to win ball games. That’s the most complete game I’ve been a part of.”
It was a dominating performance by the Packers, who crushed the Cowboys 45-7 at Lambeau Field to improve to 6-3, maintain sole possession of first place in the NFC North and move within a half-game of Atlanta and the New York Giants for the best record in the National Football Conference.
No matter what the record says, Jackson is convinced about one thing.
“Right now I feel like we’re the best team in the NFL,” said Jackson. “We just continue to do what we do, we’ll be great.”
The Packers' offense broke out of its funk and was virtually unstoppable while the defense made its usual ball-hawking presence known by producing four turnovers. Even the sometimes maligned special teams units joined the party and generated a touchdown.
All in all, it was a scary-good performance by the Packers, even if it came against the reeling Cowboys, who dropped to 1-7 and claim the mid-season booby prize for most disappointing team in the NFL.
“Give credit to our team, we went out there and anything they tried to do we smothered it,” cornerback Charles Woodson said.
The Packers’ defense was coming off a shutout over the New York Jets last week and picked up right where it left off. Only a Cowboys touchdown in the waning seconds of the first half prevented a second consecutive goose egg for a Packers opponent.
Woodson believes the Packers stack up with the best teams in the league, but he prefers to proceed with caution.
“We’re playing well, but it’s a long season,” he said. “Once you win a game, it’s over. And now you’ve got to focus on the next one. You’re only as good as your last game. So we’re going to Minnesota coming off the bye. We’ve got to play that game. This game don’t matter any more.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy promised his players the entire week off if they beat the Cowboys. The incentive obviously worked as the Packers ran off 28 unanswered points in the second quarter to bury the Cowboys.
“That’s how we want to play each and every week,” safety Nick Collins said. “We just want to go out there and dominate from the beginning to the end.”
Riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak and getting the benefit of a bye week, the Packers have the potential to go into the stretch run with a full head of steam.
“The sky is definitely the limit,” linebacker Desmond Bishop said. “We’ve got good players: offense, defense and special teams. So we just got to see how it all plays out, got to keep staying hungry, and keep coming to work, and working together and playing as one.”
The injuries and adversity the Packers faced in the first half of the season seem like a distant memory in the face of their current hot streak.
“How can you not like running off three games in a row?” Woodson said. “Putting yourself back into that mix, getting a bye and guys get a chance to sit down, go home, kick their feet up a little bit, relax and get over some aches and pains and be ready to go in a couple weeks.”
Mike Vandermause is sports editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.