I’m still numb over the result of the Green Bay Packers 37-36 win yesterday at Dallas as they came back from a 23-point deficit to get out of AT&T Stadium – otherwise known as Jerry World – with a much-needed and improbable win.
Like the rest of Packers Nation, I was dismayed – to put it lightly – at halftime of yesterday’s game when the Packers trailed 26-3 to the Cowboys, who set a franchise record for number of yards in a single half. The only saving grace, and one of the factors that allowed the Packers to climb back into the game, was the fact that the Packers defense bent, but didn’t break at all the right moments in keeping the Cowboys to several field goals in the first half. The deficit at halftime certainly could have been much worse had the Cowboys found the end zone more often.
But they left the door just far enough ajar to let the Packers sneak into the party … and did they ever.
Starting with Eddie Lacy‘s 60-yard run on the Packers first series in the second half, the tone was set and the belief that somehow the Packers could win built right up through the third and deep into the fourth quarters.
Those who were cussing head coach Mike McCarthy, and especially his defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, during the first half were exclaiming their names on high as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Backup quarterback Matt Flynn threw aside a disastrous second quarter to post four touchdown passes in the second half to lead the Packers to victory. Among those passes was the one to Jordy Nelson who, in my mind, made the game’s most important catch when he snatched away a sure interception from the Dallas defender to give the Packers the touchdown that only continued to provide the Packers with needed momentum.
However, that’s not to discount the other plays made all over the field in the second half by the Packers. The middle screen pass to James Starks who ran the ball in for a touchdown; the quick slant pass to Andrew Quarless for a TD between two Dallas defenders; the third down one-handed catch by Jordy Nelson; and of course the game-sealing interceptions by Sam Shields and Tramon Williams will only add to the lore.
Many of us remember the game back in the 1980s when the Packers came back from a huge deficit against the Los Angeles Rams – a game that would have been won, except that Brent Fullwood forgot to take the ball with him into the end zone. Incidentally, there was one Kevin Greene who was a member of that Rams team.
That game propelled the “Cardiac Pack” to an incredible run through the 1989 schedule that brought back respectability to the team.
Could yesterday’s game have that same type of effect? Could this 2013 season have been saved?
With the Packers still on the outside looking in, they need only win out in their final two games (Pittsburgh and at Chicago) and have the Detroit Lions lose one of their final three games (versus the Baltimore Ravens tonight, New York Giants next week and the Minnesota Vikings in the final week).
The improbability of this two-game win streak was seen as a near impossibility only a couple of weeks ago as the Packers were coming off a 1-4-1 record over the course of the previous month. Without Aaron Rodgers, the face of the franchise, it seemed the team just wasn’t very good.
But that was before Matt Flynn brought the team back last week against the Atlanta Falcons and yesterday against the Cowboys.
No doubt there are still many warts to be addressed with this team … namely the inconsistency of the defense – but winning helps ease the sting of those faults.
Could the planets and stars be aligning for another improbable season-ending for this Packers’ team?
Stay tuned … there’s much fun ahead.