Packers fans enjoyed a thrilling victory over the NFC East winning Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. The rollercoaster contest included no fewer than a dozen superlative plays from members of the Green and Gold, often by players less heralded during the regular season. Reasonable minds might have a different perspective but there is no denying the criticality of five plays in particular in Green Bay advancing to the NFC Championship game next Sunday in Seattle. Here are the top plays from Sunday as I see it. Not surprisingly, all occurred in the second half.
#5] Davante Adams’ huge third down conversion on third and three with two and a half minutes left in the game. He ripped the ball from the cornerback who nearly intercepted the ball for a pick-six that would have put Dallas in the lead. The reception gave Green Bay a new set of downs and went for twenty-five yards and into Cowboys territory.
#4] Randall Cobb’s incredible third down conversion with less than two minutes left to play after a Dallas defender deflected the ball into the air. The twelve yard completion came on a difficult down and distance of third and eleven, and sealed the win for the Pack.
#3] Davante Adams’ juke of safety J.J. Wilcox on a forty-six yard touchdown reception that came on a third and fifteen play with two minutes left in the third quarter.
#2] Julius Peppers stripping the ball from DeMarco Murray on the Cowboys forty-yard line in the 3rd quarter. Absent that forced fumble, Murray likely goes all the way to the Big House and generates significant momentum for the Cowboys.
#1] Aaron Rodgers’ thirteen-yard touchdown strike to Richard Rodgers with nine minutes left in the game. The play not only provided the game winning score for the Packers but also required A. Rodgers to scramble out of the pocket on a bum leg and throw against his body. The resulting dart resembled a missile cruising at low altitude and came against tight double coverage on R. Rodgers.
Defensive Player of the Game: Julius Peppers. His sack set the tone early in the game and his forced fumble of Murray in the third quarter saved a touchdown and set up a field goal by Mason Crosby.
Offensive Player of the Game (not named Rodgers): Davante Adams. He had a huge game that compensated for the absence of Jordy Nelson, who was a non-factor due to tight coverage by the Dallas defense.
MVP of the game (and season): Aaron Rodgers. His courage in playing on his bum wheel, especially in the second half, was nothing less than spectacular. It was a performance for the ages and secures a memorable place in the annals of Packers history. He completed his last ten pass attempts of the second half and for the game threw for three hundred plus yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.