Cowboys 7-7-7-0 — 21
Packers 7-3-10-6 — 26
The last NFC game of the season will feature the same matchup as the first: Green Bay at Seattle.
This time, though, the stakes are a lot higher.
The Packers are heading to CenturyLink Field for the NFC championship game after a thrilling 26-21 win over the Cowboys Sunday at Lambeau Field that wasn’t settled until the final minutes.
The title game will be a rematch of the season opener, which Seattle won 36-16.
Despite both being hobbled, both teams’ quarterbacks played well on Sunday. But Aaron Rodgers’ playoff pedigree shined through as Green Bay overcame a 21-13 3rd-quarter deficit and scored the game’s final two touchdowns.
Rodgers finished 24-for-35 for 317 yards and three touchdowns. He fumbled in the 2nd quarter, but the play didn’t end up costing the Packers.
Tony Romo finished 15-for-19 for 191 yards and two touchdowns, but Dallas ran the ball much more in the 2nd half than they did in the 1st half. Whether that was a product of a lead or because Romo looked to be shaken up throughout the 2nd half.
The game’s critical moment was late in the 4th quarter where Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant appeared to make a key 4th down conversion with a circus catch, but after replay, the call was reversed. The Packers eventually ran out the clock.
Click here for the game’s full box score and read on for a recap.
The Packers Struck 1st With a Rodgers Touchdown Pass
Peyton and Eli Manning have “Omaha!” and Aaron Rodgers has “New York Bozo!”
On their 1st drive of the game, the Packers moved the ball 66 yards on 10 plays, capped off with an Aaron rodgers 4-yard strike to tight end Andrew Quarless to give Green Bay a 7-0 lead almost six minutes into the game.
The Cowboys Responded With a TD on the Next Possession
Romo and the Cowboys answered with a 12-play, 62-yard drive of their own that chewed up over seven minutes of game clock — something they’ve been used to this season — to tie the game at 7-7 with 1:09 remaining in the opening quarter.
Terrance Williams Did it Again & Gave the Cowboys Their 1st Lead of the Game
The Packers were driving, but a sack and fumble recovery by Dallas defensive end Jeremy Mincey stopped Green Bay’s momentum.
Five plays later, Romo hooked up with Terrance Williams for the duos 3rd TD of the postseason and gave the Cowboys a 14-7 lead with 8:19 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
DeMarco Murray’s Fumble Led to a Packers Field Goal
The Packers were not able to take advantage of the turnover with a touchdown, but Mason Crosby’s 2nd field goal of the game cut Dallas’ lead to 14-13 with 7:46 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Murray Responded With a TD That Extended the Cowboys Lead
Murray’s 2nd TD of the postseason extended the Cowboys lead to 21-13.
Rodgers Continued to Play Through His Calf Injury and Turned it on in the 2nd Half
The last two Packers drives have both resulted in touchdowns. The 1st one covered 90 yards on seven plays, capped off by a Davante Adams 46-yard TD reception from Rodgers. The 2nd covered 80 yards on 8 plays, capped off with a Richard Rodgers (no relation to Aaron) 13-yard TD reception.
Green Bay retook the lead at 26-21 with 9:10 remaining in the 4th quarter.
The Cowboys Were Denied a 1st-and-Goal Opportunity When Dez Bryant’s Catch Was Overturned
On a key 4th down in the 4th quarter, Dez Bryant appeared to make an acrobatic catch down the sideline over Packers corner back Sam Shields.
Originally, the play on the field was ruled a catch, giving Dallas the ball inside the Green Bay 1-yard-line with a chance to score and take the lead. But Packers coach Mike McCarthy challenged the play, and after a review, replay showed that although Bryant was able to appear to possess the football and get two feet down, the NFL rule as written states that a receiver must “complete the process of a catch” by also making a football move.
When Bryant goes to the ground, the ground causes the football to pop up. Because Bryant was unable to maintain “complete control” of the football throughout the process of the catch, the call was overturned, giving the Packers the ball back and allowing them to run out the clock and end the game.
Read more about the catch and the reason it was overturned here.
Preview: Winner of Ice Bowl Part 2 Moves on to Seattle for the NFC Championship Game
47 years after the Ice Bowl was played, these two teams finally meet in the playoffs again.
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off of a 24-20 Wild Card Weekend win against the Detroit Lions where they trailed 14-0 in the 1st quarter. The Green Bay Packers are coming off a bye, and are looking to keep pace with both the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks who both emerged victorious on Saturday.
Aaron Rodgers’ calf injury has causes some concern for the Packers, but despite the overreaction, Rodgers is listed as “probable” for Sunday’s game.
For the 1st time in NFL history: a team that finished 8-0 on the road during the regular season (the Cowboys) will play a team that finished 8-0 at home during the regular season (the Packers).
Click here for Heavy’s preview and prediction for the game.