The playoffs are where legends are made, stories are constructed, and games are etched in the minds of many.
A game-winning, 51-yard field goal by Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby as time expired gave the Green Bay Packers a 34-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys to advanced to the NFC Championship Game next Saturday.
Coming into the contest, all eyes were on both quarterbacks in this game. Green Bay possessed arguably the best quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. While Dallas went to war with a fourth-round rookie in Dak Prescott. Despite the sizable gap between the two in terms of experience, both quarterbacks dueled until the last second.
Dallas got the fireworks started with a 3-0 lead because of a 50-yard field goal by kicker Dan Bailey on the game’s opening drive.
Ironically, even a positive drive ending in points proved to be critical.
Rodgers guided the Packers to touchdowns on their first three drives of the game. The three drives consisted of 75, 90, and 80 yards with Packers WR/RB Ty Montgomery scoring touchdown runs on two of those drives. A fast Packers start mixed with a Cowboys offense that stayed in neutral resulted in the Packers having a 21-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
Prescott’s 40-yard touchdown pass to WR Dez Bryant trimmed the deficit to 21-10 with six minutes remaining before halftime. Another Bailey field goal narrowed the deficit to 21-13 just before the half.
Dallas boasts one of most productive run games in the NFL. Yet, they were taken out of their key element early on because of the fast Green Bay start. Ultimately, the Cowboys totaled 138 yards on the ground, with rookie Ezekiel Elliott churning out 125 of them.
The Cowboys had to rely on their passing game a little more than usual and it answered at times. Bryant totaled nine catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns and veteran tight end Jason Witten hauled in six catches and a touchdown. Bryant’s second touchdown slid the Cowboys closer 28-26 late in the fourth. A two-point conversion by immediately afterwards tied the game at 28 with a little over four minutes remaining.
The two teams traded field goals with the last minute remaining on the clock. However, the ball was in the hands of the Super Bowl winning QB last. Rodgers connected with tight end Jared Cook for 36 yards with 12 seconds left on third-and-20 to the Cowboys 32-yard line. Cook made the catch while keeping two feet in as he slid out. Crosby’s leg launched the game-winner as the Packers stormed the field in Dallas and the last seconds ticked off the clock.
Green Bay is on the road once again next Saturday in Atlanta to take on the Falcons at 3:05 PM EST.