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Aaron Jones' three touchdowns power Packers past Cowboys in wild-card win: 'He's a rare guy'

Jordan Love deserves all the praise and headlines coming his way following Sunday's demolition over the Dallas Cowboys. The young quarterback has been sensational, but let's not overlook the motor of the Packers offense: Aaron Jones.

In Sunday's 48-32 blowout over Dallas, the running back rumbled for 118 yards on 21 carries with three touchdowns. It marked Jones' fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game, all wins for Green Bay, who became the first No. 7 seed to win a postseason game since the league expanded the playoffs in 2020. Jones' play down the stretch jumpstarted a run when things could have gone sideways for Matt LaFleur's club.

"You guys see it, right? Just his ability to put his foot in the ground and just be explosive, make people miss," LaFleur said of Jones, via the official transcript. "I can't say enough great things about the guy, the football player. What he means to our team. The leadership he brings. He's a rare guy. There's not many like him. Just how he encourages his teammates, how he uplifts his teammates."

Sunday, Jones uplifted them with touchdowns. The three scores were more rushing TDs than the RB had in the entire 2023 regular season (2). He joined legendary Packers Jim Taylor (6) and Paul Hornung (4) as the only Green Bay players with three-plus career games with three-plus rush TDs in franchise history, including playoffs.

Jones now has three career playoff games with two-plus touchdowns. The only running backs with more such playoff games in their careers are all in the Hall of Fame: Emmitt Smith, Thurman Thomas, Franco Harris, John Riggins and Terrell Davis.

The Packers keyed on getting Jones going early, with the RB touching the ball seven times on the opening possession, a grinding 12-play, 75-yard scoring march that took off 7:52 and set the tone for the contest.

"We knew that they've got a really good pass-rushing unit and we wanted to keep them away from that as much as possible," right guard Jon Runyan said. "And we knew that they weren't going to want to get involved in the run game. And that was our game plan. I think we ran the ball all over them kind of at will. We stuck with the game plan, and it lasted all four quarters."

Jones battled injuries for much of the season, which coincided with most of the Packers' roller-coaster play. When he's healthy and chugging along, it completely changes LaFleur's game plan, keeps Green Bay's offense on schedule, and provides a reliable veteran presence on a youth-filled offense.

"Obviously, just the leader he is on the team and then you add his playmaking ability when he gets the ball," Love said of Jones. "He's the total package right there. I love Aaron Jones. He brings a huge spark to the team just the way he carries himself, the way he handles his business and shows up ready to work every day."

Jones shined back at home in Texas once again. The RB has two career road games with three-plus rush TDs, and both have been at Dallas: Week 5, 2019 (four rushing TDs) and the 2023 Wild Card Round (three).

Blasting the team he grew up rooting for, in memory of his late father, Alvin Jones Sr., who passed away in 2021, made it all that sweeter for the Packers' running back.

"You know, it was a full circle moment," Jones said. "I feel like this is kind of how we got into football. This was my dad's team. This was my team growing up. You always want to be like your father, so that's how it became my team. Emmitt Smith was my running back. My first jersey was a 22. I got the chance to speak to him before the game, so that was special to me as well. My dad did get to see me play here my rookie year and I know he was in here tonight. Dallas is a special place to me. It was a first circle moment. It feels like home."

The Packers travel to San Francisco, home of the top-seeded 49ers, in the Divisional Round.

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