Rodgers' 13-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Richard Rodgers gave the Packers a five-point lead with nine minutes remaining. Though they missed the two-point conversion, the defense held on for the win. Rodgers finished 24 of 35 for 316 yards and three scores.
With about four minutes minutes remaining, Dez Bryant appeared to set Dallas up with a first-and-goal on the 1-yard line after an acrobatic 32-yard reception. But replay officials overturned it, giving the Packers the ball on downs. Green Bay was able to run down the clock, converting several critical downs to end the game.
Packers defeat Cowboys
Packers defeat Cowboys
After the Packers cruised 60 yards in 10 plays on their first possession, they hit a wall. It wasn't until the final two minutes of the third quarter that they finally found the end zone again.
The Cowboys answered Green Bay's early score with consecutive touchdown drives of their own. After a defensive pass interference call in the end zone gave Dallas new life on the Packers' 1-yard line, Tony Romo found fullback Tyler Clutts on a play action pass to tie the game. After a sack-fumble gave the ball right back to the Cowboys, Terrance Williams slipped through a poor tackle attempt and broke free for a 38-yard touchdown reception and a 14-7 lead.
After a pair of Green Bay field goals cut the deficit to one point, Dallas pushed its lead back to eight. DeMarco Murray got loose down the sideline for a 26-yard gain down to the 1-yard line, then pounded it across the goal line on the next play.
1) Aaron Rodgers caught fire late.
Rodgers' torn calf was clearly bothering him in the early going. He looked nothing like the likely MVP candidate he is, repeatedly sailing passes and completing just nine of his first 17 throws. Outside of his first-quarter touchdown pass -- which he had to throw hopping on one foot -- he was unable to use his dangerous mobility to extend plays.
But suddenly, late in the third quarter, everything started clicking. Rodgers was sliding around in the pocket, avoiding pressure and making impossible throws. Trailing by eight and facing a third-and-15, he somehow fitted this ball into rookie wideout Davante Adams for a 46-yard score.
On the next possession, Rodgers went 8 for 8, capping the march with this laser between a pair of defenders to take the lead.
2) Tony Romo was pretty damn good himself.
Romo was also banged up. He took a shot to the knee in the second half and was gimpy for the rest of the way. But like Rodgers, he fought through it for a brilliant performance. His pair of first-half touchdown passes were nice, but perhaps his most impressive play of the day came midway through the third quarter. With a blitzer coming free from his blind side, Romo scrambled out and managed to fit a pass into an impossibly small window to Jason Witten for a 15-yard gain. Two plays later Murray busted into the end zone to put Dallas up, 21-13.
Romo was threading needles like that all day, finishing 15 of 19 for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Had it not been for the overturn on the late Bryant play, we're probably talking about him as the hero.
Speaking of which ...
3) The game turned on a replay challenge.
On fourth-and-2 from the Packers' 32-yard line, the Cowboys gambled with a deep toss to Bryant. He skied over the defender, pulling in an insane catch to put Dallas on the one ...
... or so we thought. Mike McCarthy threw his last challenge flag and the replay official ultimately ruled that Bryant did not possess the ball through the catch.
Instead of a first-and-goal, Dallas turned the ball over on downs.