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Packers vs. Cowboys: Quick Takes from Green Bay's 37-36 Win

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Packers vs. Cowboys: Quick Takes from Green Bay's 37-36 Win

The reanimated Green Bay Packers (7-6-1) completed the most improbable of comebacks Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium, scoring 34 points in the second half and getting not one, but two crucial defensive stops to shock the Dallas Cowboys by a 37-36 final that has conserved Green Bay's season for another week.

It was over when…

…Tramon Williams made a sprawling interception with the Packers up one point and the Cowboys driving for the game-winning points. Matt Flynn took three knees and Green Bay somehow escaped with its seventh win of the season.

Game Balls

  • Matt Flynn: After a forgettable first half that had many wanting to go to Scott Tolzien, Flynn was lights out over the final 30 minutes. All four of his touchdown passes came in the second half and the Packers offense scored on five straight possessions. He even made big-time throws against the blitz. Say what you want about Flynn, but the guy has salvaged the Packers season. Two wins and a tie, all in come-from-behind fashion. He's somehow kept Green Bay alive without Aaron Rodgers.
  • Eddie Lacy: His 60-yard jaunt to open the second half sparked Green Bay's rally. And on the final drive, Lacy essentially willed his way into the end zone for the game-winning score. Forget the bad ankle. He finished with 141 rushing yards—110 of which came in the second half—and is now over 1,000 yards for the season. Not bad for a rookie running back nobody wanted.
  • Packers Cornerbacks: Green Bay doesn't win Sunday without crucial interceptions from Sam Shields and Tramon Williams. Shields' pick set up the winning drive, and Williams' sealed the deal. It was a finish from the defense that felt a little 2010-ish.

Key Stats

The offensive numbers ended very even. The Packers finished with 26 first downs and 433 yards on 68 plays. Dallas had 27 and 466 on 69...After converting just 1-of-6 first downs in the first half (lone conversion came on Lacy's catch-and-run to end the half), Green Bay picked up 6-of-7 in the second. The only time the Packers failed on third down was when Flynn took a third knee to end the game...Green Bay went 5-for-5 scoring touchdowns in the red zone...Dallas scored 13 points and racked up 192 total yards in the first quarter alone. At the half, the Cowboys were on pace for 52 points and 654 yards...Overall, the Cowboys punted just once in the first half. Dallas scored three straight times to start the half and four straight to end it...The Packers scored three second-half touchdowns of 80 yards. Aiding the comeback was four scoring drives that took less than four minutes...Flynn threw for 182 yards and four touchdowns in the second half. His passer rating over the final 30 minutes was 136.7...Lacy ran for 141 yards and set new career highs for total yards (171) and longest run (60). He also cracked 1,000 yards. The Packers rookie now has 1,028 over 13 games...A week after catching six passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, Packers tight end Andrew Quarless caught six passes for 66 yards and a touchdown...The Packers' 23-point comeback tied the franchise record. Sunday also marked the first time Green Bay had overcome a 23-point half-time deficit...The Cowboys are now 42-1 all-time when leading by 20 or more points at halftime.

Other Notes

– The Packers' historic comeback got a huge assist from Cowboys offensive coordinator Bill Callahan and head coach Jason Garrett. Despite leading by 23 at the half, Dallas called just seven run plays over its final 30 offensive snaps. Seven. That's unfathomable for a team that only needed to eat clock to win. And it's not like DeMarco Murray wasn't effective. He averaged nearly eight yards a carry. The biggest mistake came from Tony Romo, who tried to hit the quick slant on a pass-run option play with under three minutes left in the fourth quarter. How does a team winning by 23 points at half time end up attempting 48 passes?

– It's difficult to explain why the Packers have been so poor in the first half and so unstoppable in the second the past two weeks. This team was outscored 47-13 over the first 30 minutes against Atlanta and Dallas, but then held a 46-10 advantage in the second half. Polar opposites.

–  The Packers defense hasn't played many halves as ruinous as Sunday's first half. Deep into the second quarter, Dallas was on pace for nearly 700 total yards. That's brutal and inexcusable. But there's no comeback bid if the Packers ravaged defense doesn't hold the Cowboys to four first-half field goals. The halftime scoreboard very easily could have read 30-something to 3. The third down defense was Green Bay's only saving grace in the first half.

– Offensive Rookie of the Year will come down to Eddie Lacy and Keenan Allen. Both are qualified and deserving. Might be a little biased, but I'd give Lacy an edge with two games left. He has three 100-yard games and five of his seven touchdowns since Rodgers went down. If he gets over 1,200 yards with eight or nine touchdowns, Lacy should hold off Allen for the award. No Green Bay rookie has won it since 1971 (John Brockington).

– The Packers are now a Ravens win over the Lions on Monday night away from controlling their own destiny in the NFC North. Any combination of two Packers wins and one Lions loss with give Green Bay a third straight division title.

– Week 16 brings the Pittsburgh Steelers—fresh off their thrashing of the Cincinnati Bengals—to Lambeau Field for Green Bay's home finale. It'll be another stern test. Upside here is that Aaron Rodgers has a realistic chance of returning from his fractured collarbone. And if that's the case, the Packers will be favored to continue their modest winning streak and push the NFC North race to a photo finish.

Zach Kruse is a 25-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covered prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

Comments (26)

Pack Morris's picture

Great re-cap, Zach.

Worldstab's picture

Quarless. What a devil.

The TKstinator's picture

With God's Gifts.

White92's picture

2010-ish

I like it

Hank Scorpio's picture

In a battle of two inept defenses, the Packers sad sack unit was better in the red zone. That and forcing 2 turnovers to just one forced turnover for Dallas was the difference in this one.

hump's picture

one interesting note....in each of the last 2weeks,when richardson was inserted,the defense went from non existant to shut down,and im not trying to say that richardson is anything more than a nice looking prospect,but i think it is painfully clear that when you have a weak link in your defense as bad as md jennings,how it seemingly takes the whole defense down with it!! only question DOM..... why the fuck is jennings starting again after richardson had the same affect on the falcons game!!!! UNFCKN BELIEVABLE!!!

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, I agree... I am not going to say that Richardson is the reason why, But they have played a lot better when he has came in. coincidence? possibly.

But Burnett looks so much better when Richardson comes in. Maybe it allows him to be sure of his assignments more with Richardson then Jennings? Maybe Burnett feels he has to cover for Jennings as well? I don't know why, but he to me has looked a lot better when Richardson has went in.

I will say I was shocked that Jennings started again. Hopefully next week Richardson is starting.

Bibbon Hazel's picture

Agreed. The loyalty is frustrating in some cases! Richardson needs to be on the field 100% more than Jennings and for laymen like us to clearly see it the past two weeks how can Domfounded and MAshed Potato Mike not see it??? Sit the Doctor play Spinal Tap!

MarkinMadison's picture

Dallas was like 2-9 on third downs, and that is huge.

I'm not sure what you meant by, 'no one wanted Eddie Lacy.' At least from a fan perspective, I wanted either him or Leveon Bell.

Matt Flynn also nearly brought the Packers back from behind against the Vikings. Whatever his limitations are, whatever Tolzein's upside may be, I think that Flynn looks like a career backup. A guy who can come off the bench and win.

C's picture

Jones, Quarless, Boykin and Nelson deserve most of the praise. They made some amazing adjustments on some really mediocre throws. Flynn stood tall and gave them the chance to begin with, but those receivers were lights-out. He owes Nelson a nice dinner for reaching over the defender on that touchdown and pulling the ball from his chest. That throw should have been a sure pick.

Taco's picture

I think zach means every team passed on lacy for the first 1.5 rounds. Every team could have selected him but didn't. It may be hyperbole to say "nobody wanted him"--but the GM's seem to did undervalue him. Not every team was in the market for a RB, but he's easily worth a late 2nd round pick. It's a story line that seems to provide lacy with some motivation.

RunAndHyde's picture

He was skipped over by every team in the first round and a few more in the 2nd. People said he was injury prone and wouldn't hold up. That's what he means by nobody wanted him.

MarkinMadison's picture

Understood without the replies regarding GMs, but do I find that mentality a bit amusing. Any guy who is not picked in the first round is unwanted by everybody? If that is what it takes to motivate a player, fine, I guess. If that is how you are living your life, your life sucks. :-)

pooch's picture

Oh please please capers mix your defense up more,play clay in the middle to give the opposing offense something to think about.Neal and Perry on outside and clay in the inside on 3rd down please please read my post.Please don't be so fucking stubborn.Not middle all day but on passing downs 50% of the time

RC Packer Fan's picture

Lacy IMO deserves OROY. Look at what the Packers running game has been like the last 2 years. Look at what the running game is like now.
And with Lacy you can't just look at the stats for him. Look at how he fights for every yard.
He has changed the look of the Packers offense, and that is even when Rodgers was playing. How many other Rookies changed the look of the offense from the previous few years? Not many that I know of.

Ohh, and I really can't wait to see this offense with Rodgers and Lacy together again.

Evan's picture

I agree. Allen has a strong case, but Lacy is going to win it. Good or bad, a lot of the award is based on publicity, and yesterday's win shot Lacy to the front.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I look at it this way too.. Lacy has been great all year. Allen has really only come on the last however many games. It is a year award not just the last so many games...

I agree though that this game was one for him that a lot of people will have seen and possibly will have won it for him.

t's picture

Dallas' soft defense in the second half is what fueled the comeback. We, Packer Fans, know all about that defense. If they continued to play defense they way they did in the 1st half, it would of been ugly.

Derek in CO's picture

I love this stat: Green Bay went 5-for-5 scoring touchdowns in the red zone. That is what we've been looking for all year.

cLowNEY42's picture

OLine stepped up in the 2nd half.
Without those big guys picking themselves up after a horrendous 1st half, the comeback could not have happened.

Before the season started, who would have thought the following?...

Bush > House (this sucks, actually)

Richardson > Jennings

Richardson > Burnett? (not sure on this, but at least Richardson can tackle)

Neal > Perry

Lattimore > B. Jones

Boyd > D. Jones

Daniels > D. Jones

Jolly > Raji

Boykins > J. Jones

Also - It would be HUGE if this is the real Quarless. I would love to not have to use an early pick on a TE... so many other holes to fill (ILB, DL, S, CB). And we may not have to draft a QB either (Flynn backup for now, Turdzien to develop for later).

Point Packer's picture

I agree with most of this, though I think Jones/Boykin is a wash. Same with Neal/Perry.

House is even bad on Special Teams. Sad, given how much promise he showed at times.

RunAndHyde's picture

Richardson isnt better then Burnett...yet. Neal is not as good as Perry.....Perry just had a rough couple games. Mike Daniels is our best DL.....period. Datone gets better every week.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Burnett is better when playing with Richardson though...

Point Packer's picture

That's like saying my shit looks better in blue toilet bowl water than the more common clear version.

RC Packer Fan's picture

nice analogy.

But honestly, hasn't Burnett looked better the last 2 games when Richardson has played?

IMO, he has.

Ranch Tooth's picture

TT needs to stop messing around and pay Sam Shields. Like now.

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