After last weekend’s somewhat controversial win over the Detroit Lions, the Dallas Cowboys headed to Lambeau Field to try to keep their Super Bowl dreams alive, but another highly debatable decision, and this time against the Cowboys, would contribute to knock America’s Team out of the playoffs, as Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy challenged a catch by wide receiver Dez Bryant on fourth down in the final minutes of regulation. Perhaps the biggest favorite to win the MVP Award this season, Green Bay’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers stepped onto the field on Sunday despite his injury and produced another stellar performance to get his team one step closer to the 2015 Super Bowl.
The Dallas Cowboys first playoff appearance in Green Bay since the famous Ice Bowl, in 1967, ended with their first defeat on the road this season after eight consecutive wins. Tony Romo, another potential candidate for the MVP award, was also battling some injuries, and delivered a solid performance against the Packers, completing 15 of his 19 pass attempts, throwing for two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Running back DeMarco Murray ran for 123 yards and a touchdown, but his ball-security issues came out in this game, as he fumbled the ball early in the third quarter, allowing Green Bay to put three points on the board as a result of that play. With 4:06 left on the clock, Dez Bryant’s spectacular 31-yard catch was overturned after review, as it was ruled that the talented wide receiver failed to maintain possession of the ball after going to the ground. As a result, instead of first-and-goal for the Cowboys, the ball went to the Green Bay Packers, who managed to keep it until the final whistle.
With an 8-point deficit in the third quarter, and despite struggling with an injured calf, Aaron Rodgers rallied his team to a 26-21 win over the Dallas Cowboys, thus remaining undefeated at Lambeau Field this season. Rodgers finished Sunday’s game completing 24 of his 35 pass attempts for 316 yards and two touchdowns, and extended his already impressive home record without an interception to 512 passes and 41 touchdowns, including post season. Rodgers’ performance was particularly impressive in the second half, when he managed to better adapt his style of play to his evident physical limitations. And after being given possession of the ball, following the overturn of Dez Bryant’s catch, Rodgers made enough plays to keep his offense on the field until the end of regulation. The Packers travel to Seattle next week, where they lost 36-16 in the first game of the season, to face the Super Bowl Champions Seattle Seahawks for the NFC title.