Packers vs. Cowboys: Final Score 37-36 as Green Bay Completes Epic Comeback

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers fought back after a disastrous first half which saw them down 26-3 at halftime, and somehow completed a comeback win that kept their playoff hopes alive.

That game is one for the ages. After one of the most depressing first halves in Packers history, they fought back with five touchdowns in the second half at AT&T Stadium to emerge from Dallas with an incredible victory and with their playoff dreams still intact.

Matt Flynn, who struggled mightily in the first half, threw for four touchdowns in the second half, Eddie Lacy scored the go-ahead touchdown, and Tramon Williams recorded an interception to clinch the game for the Packers, who were down 23 points at halftime.

First Quarter

The Cowboys got off to a quick start, picking up big chunks of yardage through the air and on the ground. The first play from scrimmage was an 11-yard run by DeMarco Murray off the right side, and later on the drive Tony Romo used play-action to connect with rookie wideout Terrance Williams for 27 yards. However, the Packers' defense stepped up when the Cowboys got over midfield, and thanks to a tackle for loss by Josh Boyd and pass deflection by Micah Hyde, Dallas was forced to settle for a 47-yard Dan Bailey field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

The Packers got a big pass play of their own on the first drive to get the ball across the Cowboys' 40-yard line. Matt Flynn hit James Jones on a slant over the middle, and the catch and run went for 39 yards down to the Cowboys' 37. A sack by Orlando Scandrick (which should fall squarely on Matt Flynn's shoulders for not getting rid of the ball or changing the play) set up Mason Crosby for a 57-yard field goal attempt. Crosby drilled it, tying the game at 3.

The Cowboys opened up a can on the next drive, with DeMarco Murray rolling for 41 yards on a single play. Dallas ran right at Brad Jones, and M.D. Jennings got fooled by a quick cut by Murray to give up about 15 extra yards. After a Dez Bryant pass took the Cowboys inside the ten, the Packers' defense again held, getting a pass breakup from Morgan Burnett on third down (on a ball that probably should have been intercepted) to again force a Bailey field goal to make the score 6-3.

The Packers then put up arguably the most pathetic offensive series in recent memory. On first down, Don Barclay got blown up by George Selvie, who dropped Eddie Lacy for a six-yard loss. Then David Bakhtiari was called for a false start. Then a screen pass to Lacy was sniffed out for another six-yard loss. Needless to say, a pass underneath to Jordy Nelson wasn't going to pick up the first down, and they had to punt.

The Cowboys wasted no time getting their first touchdown this time. Gavin Escobar caught a pass for 15 yards, Murray ran for nine, then Murray broke a Brad Jones tackle and went for 16 more yards. On the fourth play, Morgan Burnett bit on an out-and-up by Jason Witten, who made an easy catch and rumbled into the end zone for a 13-3 lead.

The Packers picked up some yardage on a first-down pass interference call on Brandon Carr, but gave ten yards back on a sack just before the end of the first quarter.

Second Quarter

Surprise, surprise - the Packers were forced to punt after a short pass to Eddie Lacy and an incomplete pass to Nelson.

Dez Bryant picked up a first down early on the next Dallas drive, but couldn't haul in a deep pass on third down, as Burnett had good coverage deep, forcing the first Cowboys punt of the day.

A Jordy Nelson drop started the next series, but Eddie Lacy picked up ten yards and a first down on the next play. There was nothing doing, though, as the Packers were forced to punt from their own 35.

Remarkably, after giving up big yardage early once again on the next drive, the Packers held the Cowboys to another field goal to make the score 16-3. Matt Flynn gave the ball back, though, forcing a pass to Nelson into triple-coverage and getting picked off. Mike Daniels came up with a big sack on the next drive and Jarrett Bush broke up a pass intended for Jason Witten, so a 50-yard field goal for Bailey made the score 19-3.

Lacy picked up 11 yards on the first play of the next drive, but the Packers couldn't convert a second and one (drop by Ryan Taylor) or third and one (weird pass to Lacy that failed) and punted away.

Dez Bryant had another big catch to open the last Cowboys drive of the first half, this time for 37 yards. Miles Austin picked up another first down, and DeMarco Murray pounded through the line for a touchdown to extend the lead to 26-3. The Packers picked up a bit of yardage with passes to Nelson, Boykin, and Lacy, but did not get into field-goal range until the half expired.

Third Quarter

On the first series, the offense showed the kind of life that it hadn't showed in the first half. Eddie Lacy started the drive off with a simple off-tackle run but saw a massive hole and rumbled 60 yards down to the Cowboys' 20. Three plays later, Jordy Nelson stole a pass away from Orlando Scandrick in the corner of the end zone and turned a would-be interception into a Packers touchdown to pull Green Bay back within two scores at 26-10.

Surprise, surprise: the defense hemorrhaged yardage again when the Cowboys got the ball. Bryant picked up another pair of first downs, and a holding penalty on Jarrett Bush kept the Dallas drive alive on third down in field-goal range. However, the Packers got helped out by a hold on the Cowboys, and held them to yet another field goal, this time from 50 yards again, for a 29-10 lead.

Matt Flynn made some nice throws on the next drive, but was bailed out by some incredible catches. Andrew Quarless made a remarkable fingertip grab over the middle on third down, but Jordy Nelson's tipped, one-handed catch will be on highlight reels for weeks to come. Jarrett Boykin converted a pair of first downs to get Green Bay down to the four-yard line, and from there, Flynn found Quarless on a slant at the goal line to get the Packers on the board again and pull within 29-17.

The Cowboys then elected to throw three times on the next drive - the first was a drop by Murray, the second an incompletion, and the third resulted in a sack by Clay Matthews and Datone Jones, which forced a punt from the Cowboys' four. Micah Hyde returned the ball to the Dallas 22-yard line, where Flynn and company set up to start the final quarter.

Fourth Quarter

The Packers picked up a first down with completions to Boykin and Quarless to get down to the 10-yard line. From there, James Starks came in for a slightly-hobbled Lacy and on a screen in the middle of the field, caught a quick pass after chipping an onrushing DeMarcus Ware, then split a few defenders to make it just over the goal line for a touchdown. That score brought the Packers within five as the score sat at 29-24.

Two plays later, Tramon Williams appeared to make a falling interception of a tipped pass at the 30 yard line, and after not being touched, got up and returned it inside the ten-yard line. Upon review, the ball was ruled to have moved when it hit the ground, and the Cowboys got the ball back for a third-and-five. Mike Neal was called for encroachment (despite the Cowboys' tackle appearing to move), giving Dallas a first down. Brad Jones was later called for a questionable facemask, and Jason Witten made a big catch over the middle to take Dallas to the Packers' 25. A few plays later, Dez Bryant made an acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone and somehow found a way to get both feet down before going out of bounds to make the score 36-24.

After the kickoff, Lacy picked up a first down and Flynn found Quarless for a big third-down conversion. Jarrett Boykin then made a perfect adjustment on a back-shoulder pass, and took the ball down to the seven. Flynn then looked defenders away from James Jones before finding him for a three-yard score to pull it back within five.

The Packers got a good start from their defense on the ensuing drive, as Sam Shields broke up a deep pass intended for Dez Bryant and Mike Neal sacked Romo after a ridiculous scramble, bringing up third and 12, but Bryant somehow was able to make a reception and stretched out for a first down. Two plays later, Tony Romo narrowly avoided a Clay Matthews sack, but Sam Shields made a remarkable interception at midfield to give the Packers back the ball with one more shot at taking the lead.

On the first play, Flynn found Quarless for 18 yards, and then Lacy ran for four to take the game down to the two-minute warning. Lacy found room around the left side on a draw, picked up the first down, and got out of bounds. Quarless was then hit early on a pattern over the middle, drawing a pass interference penalty at the 13. Lacy then ran up the middle for nine yards, before Flynn missed  James Jones in the corner of the end zone on second down. On third down, Lacy ran up the middle for a first down, and on the next play, he leapt over the goal line for the go-ahead touchdown! Flynn couldn't connect with Quarless on the two-point conversion, though, as the score remained 37-36.

Romo connected with Cole Beasley on the first play after the kickoff for nine yards. But on second and one, Tramon Williams came up with the ball, but was initially called an incomplete pass. However, the booth reviewed the play, and overturned it, ruling it an interception and giving the Packers the ball back with little enough time left to kneel out the clock and complete the comeback victory.

With the win, the Packers move to 7-6-1, a half-game behind the Bears for the lead in the NFC North Division.

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