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Packers, Week 15 all but destroy Cowboys instead of saving them

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Week 15 was breaking beautifully for the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 15. With the Cowboys jumping to a 26-3 lead over the Green Bay Packers, right after the Philadelphia Eagles were upset by the Minnesota Vikings, things were setting up for the Cowboys to take total control of the NFC East. Yet four Matt Flynn touchdowns and two last-minute Tony Romo interceptions later, the Cowboys went on life support while the Packers got a 37-36 reprieve in the day’s defining battle.

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Beforehand, nothing went right for the Packers, who couldn’t stop the Cowboys in any aspect of the game. DeMarco Murray and Romo had their way with the Green Bay defense in the first half, while Dallas was actually stopping an opposing offense for once.

If the score held, the Cowboys would have held the NFC East lead again in a tiebreaker, and would have clinched the division with a win and an Eagles loss in Week 16. It looked like a very plausible outcome, given that Dallas would visit the Washington Redskins in Week 16 while Philadelphia hosts the Chicago Bears.

Yet in the second half, a Packers team that looked lost for weeks without Aaron Rodgers found its footing. Three straight touchdown drives closed the score to 29-24, but when a Romo interception was overturned and the Cowboys then marched back into the end zone, all seemed well again for Dallas. Even when Green Bay scored again to make it 36-31, Romo just needed to run out the clock.

Instead of hurting the Packers with the run, the Cowboys kept throwing. In fact, coach Jason Garrett later accused Romo of changing a run play into a pass that got picked off by Sam Shields. At that point, the Packers used their running game to complete the comeback on an Eddie Lacy touchdown.

Two plays later, Romo threw a low ball that Tramon Williams dived for to clinch the game for the Packers. With that, Green Bay went from the brink of elimination to still having life in the NFC North, while Dallas would be virtually out of the playoff picture if not for Philadelphia’s loss.

This was a week where several divisional leaders lost, so the Cowboys weren’t the only ones to forfeit a golden opportunity -- although they coughed theirs up the loudest. The accompanying slideshow lists the best and worst games of a loud Week 15.

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