‘We have huge pride:’ Blake Martinez says defense for 4-1 Packers ‘making plays when we need to’
DALLAS — Aaron Rodgers darted toward the line of scrimmage before flinging a ball sidearm for another dazzling completion at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Aaron Jones waved “bye-bye” to Dallas cornerback Byron Jones on the way to one of four rushing touchdowns, which tied Green Bay’s franchise record. The “Aarons” were quite comfortable in a 34-24 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday — Rodgers because he won again at AT&T Stadium nine years after his first victory in the retractable-roof stadium was the 2011 Super Bowl, Jones because the West Texas kid felt right at home.
The Packers (4-1) built a 31-3 lead, although Dak Prescott (463 yards passing) and Amari Cooper (226 yards receiving) set career highs trying to keep things interesting in the fourth quarter. The last hope for Dallas ended with 1:41 left when Brett Maher missed his second field goal — a 33-yarder that would have given the Cowboys a shot at an onside kick down seven.
The Cowboys (3-2) lost their second straight game and dropped into a tie with Philadelphia atop the NFC East after winning their first three, just as the Packers had done. Green Bay, also coming off its first loss, took sole possession of first in the NFC North with Chicago’s 24-21 loss to Oakland. The Packers opened the season with a win over the Bears.
“A lot of emotions,” said Martinez. “A lot of different ones. I think there was a lot of points in that game where we were doing a lot of great things, and then they started kind of picking up momentum, and it just feels good to get out of this one with a win.”
FOX6’s Tim Van Vooren: “Absolutely. You guys got far enough ahead. You knew at some point they got a couple fortuitous plays and they were able to start getting it going. They got the home crowd and everything else. To me, watching the game was kind of, withstand at that point, defensively. You had lost so many players to injury, or guys that are less than 100%. Withstand. Did it feel that way on the field? You were on the field a lot in that second half.”
“Yeah, I feel like that’s kind of a component to it, but I think for the most part it is just little plays here and there, trusting our leverage, trusting where help is, and those type of things that helped us, and then we made plays throughout the game to get out off the field when we needed to, and there’s just certain points where we kind of just did kind of dumb mistakes, whether it’s penalties, and those types of things that allowed them, their drive, to keep going,” said Martinez.
FOX6’s Tim Van Vooren: “You made a big stop, talking about stops, on third down. Dak Prescott right in the middle of the field there. You got him down. They had to try the field goal. They missed the field goal. So, I mean, I don’t know how many tackles you had, Blake. I don’t know how many snaps you played. Do you feel tired?”
“A little bit,” said Martinez. “I mean, I feel good. That’s why I was saying last week and this week was when I felt the best after a game, so I’m hoping this conditioning stuff keeps going for me, and I’m feeling good next week.”
FOX6’s Tim Van Vooren: “Matt LaFleur said turnovers were the key to this game. You guys have been using that formula all year — pressure on Prescott. How much pride are you guys taking, really, as a defensive unit, being able to impact games like that?”
“We have huge pride,” said Martinez. “It’s something we talked about since OTAs — just making those plays when we needed to, and being in the right spot. All of us are doing our 1-11, and when those plays come to us, we’re making it, and it feels great to do it, and we just have to be more consistent.”
FOX6’s Tim Van Vooren: “You get a little extra time now again playing on a Monday night, next Monday night against the Lions. Does that help? We’re in the middle of the season here. Do you think it’s gonna come back to get you later in the year, but does it help?”
“It helps a little bit,” said Martinez. “It gives us a little extra time to kind of fix little mistakes and stuff like that, and then just recoup our bodies with those, like you said, with those injuries that did happen, and it’s just going to be prime time for us to mentally focus in and get ready for a big Monday night game.”
The Packers face the Detroit Lions Monday, Oct. 14 at 7:15 p.m. at Lambeau Field.