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.
- 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.
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.
– 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.