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Green Bay wins classic at Dallas, 34-31, to advance to NFC title game

nfl footballIn case you were wondering, yeah, Aaron Rodgers is good. The Green Bay quarterback pulled a 35-yard pass out of his pocket in the waning seconds to set up a 51-yard Mason Crosby field goal that sent the Packers to the NFC Championship Game with a 34-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

The Cowboys (13-4) had stormed back from a 21-3 first-half deficit that was still at 28-13 entering the fourth quarter to tie the game twice, first at 28-28 with 4:08 left on a 2-yard TD pass from rookie QB Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant, followed by a Prescott two-point conversion run.

Then after a 56-yard Crosby field goal put the Pack (12-6) back on top, 31-28, with 1:33 to go, Prescott led the ‘Boys on a six-play, 42-yard drive that culminated in a 52-yard Dan Bailey field goal that made it 31-31.

But the clock still had 35 ticks left on it, plenty of time for Rodgers, though the game seemed destined for OT when he was sacked for a 10-yard loss on first down, then was incomplete on a second-down pass near midfield.

On third-and-20 from the Green Bay 32, Rodgers was flushed out of the pocket to his left, and appeared to be looking downfield for a Hail Mary pass, when he found Jared Cook inside the Dallas 35.

Cook grabbed the ball and got both feet inbounds as he fell to the sidelines, and after a conference with officials on the field and a replay review the catch was confirmed, setting up the Crosby kick on the final play.

Dallas coach Jason Garrett called timeout just before the snap as Crosby nailed a first kick. On the second try, the ball seemed headed toward the left goal post before inching inside as time expired, sending Green Bay to Atlanta for a shot at the 2017 Super Bowl.

Rodgers was 28-of-43 passing for 356 yards and two touchdowns, with one pass intercepted, his first interception in eight games, a span of 319 passes.

Prescott, in his first career playoff game, threw for 302 yards, completing 24 of his 38 throws, with three touchdowns and one interception.

Rookie tailback Ezekiel Elliott ran for 125 yards on 22 carries for Dallas, and Bryant had nine catches for 125 yards and two TDs.

Cook had six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown for Green Bay.

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