Packers vs. Cowboys: Takeaways from Green Bay's 37-36 Win over Dallas
It took a miracle, but the Green Bay Packers were able to beat the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15. The Packers were down 26-3 heading into the second half before outscoring Dallas 34-10 over the final two quarters to get the win.
That 23-point comeback tied the largest in franchise history, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Furthermore, with this win Green Bay remained in the race for the playoffs and the NFC North division title.
Let's take a look at some takeaways for Green Bay from this incredible 37-36 win over Dallas.
*All statistics courtesy of NFL.com.
The Magic of Matt Flynn Continues
It wasn't an ideal first half for quarterback Matt Flynn. In fact, he'd probably like to forget about those first 30 minutes against the Dallas Cowboys.
However, you have to give credit to Flynn for what he was able to do with the offense in the second half. Flynn led the Packers to five touchdowns and 34 points in the second half. He finished the game with 299 passing yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
Head coach Mike McCarthy said that Flynn has give the Packers "consistency and a balanced offense," according to the Packers' twitter feed.
The Packers still can't wait to get Aaron Rodgers back on the field, but Flynn has definitely proven his worth these past two weeks.
Is Eddie Lacy the Best Running Back the Packers Have Ever Had?
As crazy as this might sound, running back Eddie Lacy might just be the best running back the Green Bay Packers have ever had.
Heading into Sunday's game, Lacy had 887 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the season. After this week, Lacy now has 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns.
While the stats are certainly impressive, what makes Lacy so valuable is how important he is to this offense. Even when the Packers had Ahman Green at running back, they still had a Hall of Fame quarterback in Brett Favre leading the team.
However, Lacy has held the Packers together without quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the field. His play was a major reason why the Packers were able to comeback in the second half.
It might be a stretch to call Lacy the best running back the Packers have ever had right now, but there is no doubt that this kid is going to be a special, special player.
Andrew Quarless Makes a Statement
Last week we saw tight end Andrew Quarless have a breakout game with six receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. Quarless continued to make a statement by recording the same exact statistics this week against the Dallas Cowboys.
That's 12 receptions, 132 yards and two touchdowns in the past two games for Quarless. Not even Jermichael Finley was able to produce that consistently for the Green Bay Packers when he was healthy.
That's not to say that Quarless is more talented than Finley. However, it's hard to ignore the impact that he's been able to have for this offense over the past two weeks.
The Offensive Line Improves a Little
After giving up a total of 12 sacks in the past two games, the offensive line picked up its play in a big way against the Dallas Cowboys.
Sure, the first half was a little shaky, but the unit played much better in the second half. In fact, it didn't give up a single sack over the final two quarters and only gave up two in the first half.
However, what was most impressive about the offensive line was how dominant they were to end the game. Not only did they open up huge holes for running back Eddie Lacy, but they also were able to give quarterback Matt Flynn a ton of time in the pocket.
The offensive line has been the weakest link of the offense this season. However, there were small signs of improvement from this group in this game, which is a good sign for the final two weeks of the year.
The Defense Stepped Up in a Big Way
Yes, the Green Bay Packers defense gave up 26 points and a whole bunch of yards in the first half. However, they showed an incredible amount of poise in the second half against the Dallas Cowboys.
For the second straight week, the Packers defense had a strong performance in the final two quarters of a game. This time they kept the Cowboys to only 10 points, and they forced two big turnovers (more on those a little later).
The defense simply made plays throughout the second half to keep the Cowboys out of rhythm.
Sunday's performance wasn't enough to prove that the defense has been fixed. However, there is no denying that the entire group stepped up in a monstrous way to give the Packers the momentum they needed to get a big win.
These Are the Turnovers the Packers Have Needed
One of the biggest issues the Green Bay Packers have had this year is creating turnovers.
Heading into Sunday's game, the Packers had only recorded seven interceptions on the season. That number is the second worst in the league.
However, the Packers got two huge plays for their starting cornerbacks. First it was Sam Shields who intercepted a pass from quarterback Tony Romo to give the Packers great field position for their game-winning drive.
Then Tramon Williams sealed the victory with a late interception of Romo. As good as the Packers offense was in the second half, the team wouldn't have had a chance to win the game without Shields and Williams making those big plays.
These are the big plays and turnovers that the Packers have been needing all season long.
Consistency Remains an Issue
This was the second straight game that the Green Bay Packers have needed an absolutely incredible second half in order to come away with a win. Last week the Packers held the Atlanta Falcons scoreless in the second half, and this week the Packers scored 34 points and only allowed 10 points.
While the wins are certainly nice, the big issue that remains is the inconsistency this team has had from half to half. Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called the first half, "Green Bay's worst of the season."
The reality is that the Packers still have a chance at making the playoffs following this win. If they do make the playoffs, they'll certainly need to figure out how to play four quarters of consistent football.
Playoff Hopes Remain Alive
This win brought the Green Bay Packers record to 7-6-1. The Detroit Lions are currently 7-6 and play the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. The Bears won 38-31 on Sunday and now sit at 8-6 on the year.
Even if the Lions win on Monday, Green Bay is still only half a game behind both the Lions and the Bears. In order to make the playoffs, the Packers need to win their final two games, including a Week 17 matchup against Chicago, and hope that the Lions lose one of their last three games.
If that happens, then the Packers would win the NFC North with a record of 9-6-1. No matter how you look at it, the fact that Green Bay is still in the playoff picture is amazing.
It's going to take a miracle for this team to play past week 17, but the Packers proved in this game that they still have plenty of miracles left in the tank.
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