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Packers Stop Cowboys 26-21 Behind Aaron Rodgers

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Dallas was unable to top Green Bay as Rodgers proved he probably is the MVP after all.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

It was a hard fought contest all the way, but ultimately a hobbled Aaron Rodgers was still too much as the Green Bay Packers ended the incredible season of the Dallas Cowboys 26-21.

After the pervasive claims that the referees gave the game to Dallas last week against the Detroit Lions, this one should have erased any illusions that the officials favor the Cowboys. Tony Romo was hit late with no flags, and the Cowboys had a fantastic catch by Dez Bryant on 4th and 2 overturned based on the rule that a receiver has to maintain control of the ball all the way to the ground. It cost Dallas a chance to take the lead, and set up the drive by Green Bay where they kept converting third downs.

There was no question that Aaron Rodgers was very limited by his calf injury. He was almost a statue for most of the game, and it looked like it was bothering him more towards the end of the first half. It is very likely that he would at least have gotten rid of the ball on the botched snap play when Jeremy Mincey knocked the ball loose, leading the the Cowboys' second touchdown. Injuries, however, are a part of the game, and Rodgers would at times display the accuracy that has made him All-Pro. The biggest issue for the Cowboys was the repeated inability to get to him. Too many times he had all day to survey the field, and he still had enough mobility to duck and get just enough room to make a play.

The lack of a pass rush was almost certainly the single biggest factor in the game, along with the uncanny accuracy Rodgers was able to put on some of his passes. For Dallas, there were two times when some questionable coaching decisions may have played a part. At the end of the first half with a 14-7 lead, Dallas elected to kick a field goal on fourth and one, and got a false start penalty. Dan Bailey then had his kick tipped and the ball went over to the Packers. They drove down the field and got three points of their own. It was likely a six point swing.

Then there was the sequence bridging the last play of the third quarter and the first play of the fourth when the Cowboys tried to pass on first down, despite the running game finally getting on track. Romo was not only sacked on that play, but on the next. It killed the drive and a chance Dallas had to build a lead that could have held off the Packers.

There were many good performances by the Cowboys, but just enough failures for Green Bay to win. It has been an incredible season for a team that many expected would be one of the worst in the league, but it is over now. Dallas accomplished a lot. Just not as much as they wanted to.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB