“I just felt a rhythm that I didn’t have in the first nine games,” Rodgers said. “There’s a feeling that you get when you’re in rhythm and you’re making the throws on time and you’re seeing the field and things begin to slow down for you.
“Now obviously, as a veteran player, you’ve kind of gotten through the initial stages of the slowdown where your mind doesn’t race as much. … But even as a veteran player within a season, you can have moments where you really get into a groove and it slows down even more and your thoughts are very calm and your reactions are very swift, and that’s kind of the mindset that I was starting to feel I was getting into. And our offense was starting to get into it as well.”
Again, playing as an underdog on the road, McCarthy’s team took an early lead before beginning to scuffle in the second half. The Packers failed to score on two consecutive drives, which was enough to let Dallas back into the game for what turned into a 28-28 tie with 4:12 left. A pass-interference penalty set up the Packers on the Cowboys’ 35-yard line with 1:52 to go. The Cowboys had all three of their timeouts, but with Rodgers at the helm, the Packers could move further into field goal range, burn off significant clock or force Dallas to use their timeouts.
Somehow, they ended up with the worst of all three worlds. Instead of trusting their MVP-caliber quarterback to make plays and keep the ball in bounds, the Packers turned their offense over to Ty Montgomery, who ran the ball twice for a combined loss of 3 yards. Faced with third-and-long, Rodgers ended up throwing a deep incomplete pass on a play where there was no outlet for a short gain to make Mason Crosby’s field goal any easier, with three of the four receivers running 15-plus yards downfield.