ARLINGTON, Texas — If this was Matt Flynn’s last start in place of Aaron Rodgers, it was quite a memorable one.
Flynn threw four touchdown passes in the second half, Eddie Lacy had the winning score on a 1-yard plunge after an interception by Tony Romo gave them one more chance, and the Green Bay Packers matched the biggest comeback in franchise history in a 37-36 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Romo tossed two interceptions in the final 3 minutes, the first one giving Green Bay a chance for the go-ahead score with the Cowboys in position to run out the clock with a 36-31 lead.
Lacy scored with 1:31 to go for Green Bay’s first lead since the first quarter and after the Packers trailed 26-3 at halftime.
“It took me everything not to cry,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy, whose team won its second in a row without Rodgers after going winless in the first five, including the Chicago game when the star QB got hurt.
The Packers matched the 1982 team in a September game against the Los Angeles Rams for the largest rally.
The Packers (7-6-1) kept their playoff hopes alive with Rodgers possibly returning next week. He was close to medical clearance, but missed his sixth consecutive game with a broken collarbone. He was wearing on a headset on Green Bay’s sideline.
“Most guys would pack it in – ‘Guys, it’s not our season. Let’s go home and get ready for next year,’ ” said Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams, who had an interception overturned on review before a game-clinching pick that was ruled incomplete and reversed on replay. “It’s not that vibe here.”
The vibe in Dallas could negative for a while, with Dez Bryant walking off the field before the game ended and refusing to talk to reporters in the locker room, simply shaking his head at them after finishing with 153 yards and a touchdown.
“This is one of the hardest losses that I’ve experienced,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “That’s a shame that we’ve lost that ballgame.”
The Cowboys (7-7) blew a great chance to pull even with Philadelphia in the NFC East but still control their playoff fate. They finish with Washington and the Eagles.
“We still control what we feel like we can get done,” Romo said. “It just doesn’t feel like it right now because we let it slip away.”
With Dallas leading 36-31, Bryant made a lunging first down after a catch just before the 2-minute warning that looked as if it would Dallas help hold off a huge Green Bay rally. But Romo threw behind Miles Austin after escaping a sack and Sam Shields intercepted at midfield.
The Packers steadily moved downfield before the plunge by Lacy, who had 141 yards rushing.
Behind for the first time since the first quarter, Romo threw a ball too far in front of Cole Beasley, and Williams made a diving grab that was initially called incomplete. When the video review overturned the call, Flynn ended the game with kneel-downs.
“Right now, words really have no effect,” Dallas cornerback Brandon Carr said. “Complete debacle the second half. We’ve just got to get better, man.”
Williams had an earlier interception overturned on review with Dallas clinging to a 29-24 lead. He cradled a deflected pass in his arms and had a weaving return to inside the Dallas 10, but replayed showed the nose of ball hitting the turf.
The Cowboys went on to score when Bryant made a leaping grab over M.D. Jennings and got two feet down in the back of the end zone for a 36-24 lead.
Flynn answered with his fourth straight scoring drive to get the Packers back within five. A Dallas defense that gave up eight straight scoring drives to Chicago in a loss last week let the Packers get touchdowns on five straight drives after halftime.
“What a feelin’!’” said Flynn, who threw for 299 yards with one interception. “As we were taking a knee, we were thinking ‘Is this real? Is this happening?’”
Romo threw for 358 yards and two touchdowns, but couldn’t avoid two more critical mistakes in a career at least partially defined by them.