PLAY OF THE GAME
Where do you start? How do you pick just one play from a comeback that tied the biggest second-half rally in the 93-year history of the franchise?
Perhaps the comeback never gets going without Eddie Lacy's 60-yard run on the first play of the second half. Not only did it get the Packers going, but it showed attitude.
"At halftime, we really went back to the beginning, went back to the first 10, first 15 calls of the game and really just started over and stayed committed that this was going to take all 30 minutes," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We weren't going to panic. We weren't going to come out and go no-huddle or two-minute to start the second half, because I felt like I got into a little bit of a track meet that we couldn't keep up with in the second quarter."
So, instead of chucking the ball all over AT&T Stadium, the Packers attacked their 26-3 deficit as if it were 0-0. Instead of going shotgun with three or four receivers, McCarthy sent out his inverted wishbone package with John Kuhn as the left fullback, Andrew Quarless as the right fullback and Lacy lined up 8 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
The Cowboys had eight in the box, though safety Barry Church retreated into coverage at the snap. Right defensive end DeMarcus Ware charged upfield, fully expecting quarterback Matt Flynn to throw the ball, which created an alley. The two big blocks were delivered by T.J. Lang and Kuhn, who took advantage of the Cowboys' injury-riddled linebacking corps. Lang made a sensational block, coming from right guard and going across the formation to block Cameron Lawrence, who was outside the left hash marks. Kuhn helped on Lawrence, then continued to chop down Church. Plus, receiver James Jones blocked cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
Lacy was off to the races on a play that jump-started a monumental comeback.
"For us to get that big run, I think we all kind of felt a little momentum, and then we got a touchdown a couple plays later," Flynn said. "We knew that if our defense could get some snaps that we had a chance to make this thing close. We kind of were talking on the sideline, ‘Let's just get this thing to the wire. Let's get this thing to the fourth quarter and the last couple minutes.'"
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Matty Ice resides in Green Bay.
Under McCarthy, the Packers were 0-30 when trailing by two scores at halftime, according to research by FootballOutsiders.com's Scott Kascmar. Now, with a tie against Minnesota, and back-to-back comeback wins, they're 2-31-1.
Flynn was sensational in his own way. This wasn't a barrage of pinpoint throws and big plays down the field. This was Flynn playing within himself and making one play after another. During the second half, he completed 16-of-22 passes for 182 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. The Packers converted 5-of-7 third-down plays and scored touchdowns on every second-half possession other than the take-a-knee to end the game.
"I felt like I was seeing things better, felt like I was in more of a rhythm," Flynn said. "When that happens, for whatever reason, the ball comes off your hand better. I just said, ‘Don't play safe. Don't try to go out there … just play like you're in practice. Read the defense, play football and have fun."
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL
McCarthy had no updates on Aaron Rodgers. But, with Rodgers getting extensive work last week – presumably, to shake off several weeks worth of rust and get him ready for the upcoming game against Pittsburgh – Green Bay has to feel good about its chances against the fading Steelers.
If Detroit stumbles somewhere along the line, then the regular-season finale at Chicago could be for the NFC North title and a playoff berth. It's a remarkable possibility considering the Packers looked dead-on-arrival at halftime the last two weeks.
NUMBERS WORTH NOTING
1: Rushing play, vs. four passing attempts, run by the Cowboys after getting the ball with 4:17 remaining and a 36-31 lead.
2: Blown leads of at least 23 points by the Cowboys at home since 2011. San Diego has one. The other 30 teams have zero, according to FootballOutsiders.com's Scott Kacsmar.
2: Takeaways by the Packers, giving them eight in the past three games. Green Bay had forced just six in the preceding eight games.
5: Touchdowns, out of five red-zone possessions, by Green Bay's offense. Since Aaron Rodgers' injury, the Packers had been 7-of-19.
5: Consecutive touchdown drives by the Packers in the second half. Chicago scored on eight consecutive drives against Dallas last week.
6: Consecutive games without a touchdown by Jordy Nelson until his third-quarter score against Dallas.
7: Rushing plays, vs. 23 passing plays, run by the Cowboys in the second half, despite their 26-3 halftime lead.
8: Plays of longer than 15 yards by the Cowboys in the first half. They were held to two gains of 15-plus yards in the second half.
12: Catches by Andrew Quarless over the past two games, six in each game. Future Hall of Famers Jason Witten (four) and Tony Gonzalez (three) have combined for seven.
19: Rushing plays, vs. 22 passing plays, run by the Packers in the second half, despite their 26-3 halftime deficit.
23: Points the Packers trailed by at halftime. The comeback equaled the franchise's biggest, set in the 1982 opener. Green Bay trailed the Los Angeles Rams 23-0 in Milwaukee. Lynn Dickey threw three touchdown passes in that game, a 35-23 win.
55.3: Matt Flynn's first-half passer rating, with his 117 passing yards padded by a meaningless 34-yard screen on the final play of the half.
57: Yards of Mason Crosby's first-quarter field goal. He's made five from 50-plus yards this season – one off Chris Jacke's team record set in 1993. He's made 11 in a row overall to improve to 30-of-34 on the season. The team record for field goals in a season is 30, shared by Chester Marcol (1972) and Ryan Longwell (2000). 136.7: Flynn's second-half passer rating.
1,028: Rushing yards by Eddie Lacy this season. He's the second rookie running back in franchise to reach 1,000 yards; John Brockington rushed for 1,105 yards in 1971.
Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.