Packers Stage Another Huge Comeback
For the second week running, the Green Bay Packers had to overcome adversity on the road to keep their chances of a playoff birth alive. The team showed unbelievable resiliency coming out of the locker room – erasing a 23 point defect to beat the Dallas Cowboys 37-36.
Helping the pendulum swing to the green corner was the offense, which suddenly exploded. Matt Flynn threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns while being complimented by Eddie Lacy’s 141 rushing yards and a score.
Two late interceptions by Sam Shields and Tramon Williams in the fourth quarter also swung the momentum – igniting the defense and frustrating Dallas quarterback Tony Romo as the team rallied from a 26-3 hole at the half.
“Our guys stayed the course, we knew it would come down to the last sequence of plays and it did,” said a relieved coach Mike McCarthy. “When you put yourself in a hole, you have to fight, scratch and claw. For us to get those turnovers was huge. I’m very proud of our football team.”
Much like the week 14 game against the Falcons, the Packers offense stumbled out of the gate. After Mason Crosby kicked a 57 yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3 on the first drive, Green Bay’s offense stalled almost completely.
Dallas meanwhile, were seldom stopped on either side of the ball in the opening two quarters, driving down the field with relative ease five times in the first half.
Dan Bailey’s value continues to rise, as the third year kicker was three for three on FG’s. Demarco Murray too found success – on the ground – running through an abundance of running lanes gaining 134 yards, and the Cowboys’ receiving corps exploited the Packers’ secondary, moving up and down the field.
The Cowboys scored on all but one of their first half drives, with Murray and veteran tight end Jason Witten confidently finding the end zone. But even with a three score defect to overcome, both the offense and defense for the Packers once again came out swinging with 30 minutes left in the game, scoring touchdowns on five consecutive drives.
Matt Flynn came to life after an abysmal first half, finding Jordy Nelson, Andrew Quarless, James Starks and James Jones for scores.
It was another memorable day for Nelson, who finished with 61 yards, and a huge 21 yard one handed grab while being held by Orlando Scandrick in the third quarter. Jarrett Boykin and Quarless – who continue to improve each week – also lit up the Cowboys’ secondary, both making six catches each for 83 and 66 yards respectively.
It was Eddie Lacy though who – after a huge 60 yard carry on the first play of the third quarter – would stay consistent throughout and win the Packers the game.
Initially though, Dallas refused to yield as Tony Romo found the end zone for a second time late in the fourth quarter. The 10 play, 80 yard drive seemed to put the game out of reach for Green Bay.
Dez Bryant made the catch in remarkable fashion at the back of the end zone, making it it 36-24 with a little under eight minutes remaining. This demoralising turn of events came after a disallowed interception by Tramon Williams, and two costly penalties on the defensive side, aiding the Cowboys’ dysfunctional second half offense.
But the Packers were relentless and continued to answer back. James Jones’ touchdown, the pick by Sam Shields and a masterful display of power on the ground by Lacy gave Green Bay their first lead in the dying moments. The rookie ‘back out of Alabama dived into the end zone for the go-ahead score with 1:34 left in the game after four solid runs to get the team into the red zone and run the clock down.
After a failed two-point conversion by Green Bay, the Cowboys had one final chance to drive down the field and win the game with time expiring – but Tony Romo continued his perennial December woes and threw a second interception.
Receiver Cole Beasley looked to be on a different page to Romo, backing out of an out-route too soon, leaving a gap for Tramon Williams to make an acrobatic diving catch to prevent the ball hitting the floor and end the game.
“Of my pro football career, it was definitely big (win). What a feeling! We fought so hard,” Said Matt Flynn. “The conversation at halftime was let’s be men, let’s show what we’re made of. We told each other we have to look down deep.
“I anticipate Aaron getting healthy, and that’s what we’re all looking forward to.”
With just two games left of the season, the Packers continue to sit third in the NFC North with a 7-6-1 record. The division lead is still up for grabs though, going into their week 16 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field.