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Green Bay’s late drive holds off the Cowboys in NFL playoffs

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Too much Aaron Rodgers. Not enough of America’s Team.

Rodgers was good early, and he was good late Sunday evening as the Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 34-31.

Rodgers threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his drive with 35 seconds to play that led the Packers’ win. On third-and-20 with 12 seconds to play, Rodgers hit tight end Jared Cook for 36 yards, setting up a winning 51-yard field goal from Mason Crosby.

Green Bay held a 28-13 lead after three quarters, but the Cowboys charged back to tie the game at 28 and at 31. The pass to Cook was reviewed but upheld, leading to the win.

Dallas’ sensational rookies almost helped to pull the game out. Dak Prescott threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns, and Zeke Elliot ran for 125 yards. Dez Bryant caught nine passes for 132 yards.

Cook caught six passes for Green Bay for 102 yards.

The Packers will play against Atlanta next week for the right to go to the Super Bowl.

“We’re just going to enjoy this game, enjoy the heck out of it,” Rodgers said in a postgame interview. “We’re going to celebrate this and move on to Atlanta.”

The Falcons beat the Packers 33-32 earlier in the season.

“There’s no moral victory here,” Dallas owner Jerry Jones told reporters. “There might have been a moral victory if we had continued to play the way it was looking earlier. But for this bunch to come back, get it together … to see those guys come back and compete like that, then I know if we won this game we were capable of doing a good job against in this case Atlanta and probably a good job in the Super Bowl.

“In other words, I don’t want to say in any way it’s any consolation but I know this: They are capable of playing at this level, the kind of level we would have expected.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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