Sunday, December 15, 2013
Keys to victory: Packers 37, Cowboys 36
By ESPN Stats & Information
What were the keys to the Green Bay Packers' improbable comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday?
The Cowboys chose not to run with the lead
The Cowboys entered the second half with a 26-3 lead and DeMarco Murray had 93 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Despite the big lead and success on the ground, the Cowboys ran by design on only seven of their 30 second-half plays (23 percent).
The league-average play call when leading this season is 53 percent pass, 47 percent run. The Cowboys entered Sunday with the second-lowest run percentage when ahead—37 percent.
The Cowboys averaged just as many yards on rushes as dropbacks in the first half. In the second half, the Cowboys averaged 1.9 yards more on rushes.
The Packers scored a touchdown on all five of their second-half drives.
They are the fourth team with five touchdowns in a half this season, joining the Eagles, Chiefs and Broncos, who did it twice.
The Cowboys allowed five touchdowns in a half for the first time since a 49-21 loss to the Eagles in the 2004 season.
The key to this was that the Packers went 6 of 7 on third down in the second half, with the only “failed” conversion being Matt Flynn's kneeldown to end the game.
The Packers went 1 of 6 on third down in the first half, with the only conversion being a screen pass on the final play of the half
Flynn was 5 for 5 for 75 yards and a touchdown on his third-down passes in the final 30 minutes.
Eddie Lacy rushed for 110 yards on 13 carries in the second half, including a 60-yard run on the first play of the third quarter. He had seven straight runs in the fourth quarter that gained at least three yards, prior to his one-yard touchdown run.
Tony Romo threw a pair of interceptions in the fourth quarter, one with the lead and one that clinched the game for the Packers.
This is the seventh time Romo has thrown a pick in the fourth quarter or overtime with his team tied or leading by one possession. That is nearly twice as many as any other QB since 2006 (when Romo became the starter in Dallas).
Romo is now tied with Tom Brady for the most 4th-quarter interceptions this season (four) when the score is within five points.
How unusual was the first pass resulting in an interception that Romo threw, one that came on a second-down situation?
Since 2001, teams have rushed the ball 95 percent of the time (3,061 rushes on 3,234 snaps) on first or second down when leading by one to seven points in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter.
The significance of the comeback
This marked the first time in franchise history that the Cowboys lost a game in which they led by 20 or more points at the half. Entering Sunday, they were 42-0 in such games.
The 23-point comeback tied the Packers' largest comeback in franchise history (Sept. 12, 1982 against the Rams. They trailed 23-0 and won 35-23).