The Green Bay Packers jumped on the Dallas Cowboys at the outset of tonight's instant classic as if Dem Boys had stolen their momma's rent money. Behind the brilliance of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Pack led by 18 points in the second quarter and looked unstoppable.
But the Cowboys never stopped swinging and believing. They proceeded to score 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to tie the game, setting up a nail-biting ending that came down to the game's very last play.
A-A-Ron looked to have everything sewn up with a game-winning drive in the final minutes that ended with Mason Crosby's 56-yard field goal. But, the Cowboys, behind the cool hand of rookie QB Dak Prescott and the rugged running of fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliot, responded with their own clutch drive, which Dan Bailey capped with a 52-yard field.
With 35 seconds remaining and the ball at the Packers 25-yard line, A-A-Ron connected with Ty Montgomery on a screen pass that advanced the ball to their 42. After a sack and an incompletion on the following plays, it looked like the game was headed towards overtime.
But on third-and-20, Rodgers did what he always does, pulling a rabbit out of his helmet and delivering more evidence that he just might be the greatest QB to ever play the game . He spun out of the pocket, waited patiently as if he was waiting for a Baltimore City bus at 1:00AM , and then fired a sideline sizzler while on the move to Jared Cook, who miraculously got both feet in, with inches to spare, before falling out of bounds at the Cowboys' 33-yard line.
Crosby jogged back on the field to nail the game-winning 51-yard field goal.
Missing his favorite receiver inJordy Nelson, Rodgers shredded the Cowboys secondary for 356 yards and two touchdowns. But this was one of those games where stats do no justice to A-A-Ron's brilliance. You had to see it, and fully grasp what it was that you were seeing, in order to fully appreciate it.
After the Cowboys took a 3-0 lead on their opening possession, Rodgers drove the Packers 75 yards for a touchdown on their first possession, completing all of his passing attempts, including the 34-yard strike to Richard Rodgers in the end zone.
On the Packers' second series, he marched his offensive unit 90 yards on 13 plays, culminating in a short Ty Montgomery TD run. The next time they touched the ball, Rodgers led them on a nine-play, 80-yard drive to put the Cowboys in a 21-3 headlock.
Dallas answered back and narrowed the margin to eight points at halftime, but on their first possession of the second half, Rodgers once again sliced and diced Dallas into Minute Rice with a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a TD pass to Cook.
The Cowboys (13-4) almost became the third team in the Super Bowl era to win in the playoffs after trailing by 15 points in the fourth quarter. But A-A-Ron and the Pack weren't trying to hear it.
Green Bay's win was the first by a road team after 12 straight home victories in the playoffs dating to last season. The Packers were the previous road team to win -- over Washington in last season's wild-card round.
Prescott threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, and Elliott had 125 yards rushing. But in the end, it wasn't enough to stymie the legend of A-A-Ron Rodgers, who moves on to work some more magic in next week's NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons.