Th Green Bay Packers advanced to the NFC championship game after defeating the Dallas Cowboys 26-21. The game’s narrative took a controversial turn late in the game after a reception – actually an incompletion – by Cowboys’ receiver Dez Bryant. Here are the three big story lines from the game.
The Catch that Wasn’t
With 4:42 remaining in the game, Tony Romo launched a 31-yard pass towards the end zone with Dez Bryant coming up with it, looking like he scored or would be ruled down at the Green Bay one yard line. However, Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy threw the red challenge flag (he had been 0-4 on challenges all season) to send referee Gene Steratore to review the play. After review, Steratore announced that the pass was incomplete due to the “process rule.” The”process rule” better known as the “Calvin Johnson rule” in a sense contradicts what a catch is in the rule book. Dallas would then turn the ball over on downs. Certainly, the NFL will review this rule in the offseason.
Aaron Rodger’s Calf wasn’t a Problem
It was revealed this week that Aaron Rodgers has a slight tear in his calf muscle. All week it was questioned how well Rodgers would be able to play, being that he is a quarterback who uses his legs to create space. Well the calf appeared to be no issue as Rodgers threw for 24/35, 317 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He completed his final 10 pass attempts, including going 9-9 in the fourth quarter. His touchdown pass to tight end Richard Rodgers with 9:10 remaining proved to be the difference.
Tony Romo isn’t the Goat
Tony Romo receives an unfair amount of criticism whenever the Cowboys lose. This is due in large part to late-game, costly turnovers by Romo. On Sunday, that wasn’t the case. Romo completed 15 of 19 passes for 191 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.
He would have had the go-ahead touchdown to Bryant – or at the very least four tries from the Green Bay one yard line – had it been ruled a catch. The Cowboys may have lost the game, but this time, it wasn’t Romo’s fault.
What’s next for these two teams:
Green Bay will travel to Seattle for a showdown with the reigning, defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks for the NFC championship.
Dallas will start its offseason with many questions to answer. The biggest questions will be whether or not the team can afford to bring back Bryant, running back DeMarco Murray, and Head Coach Jason Garrett.