Rodgers rallies Packers past Cowboys

Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:19pm EST
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By Simon Evans

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Aaron Rodgers battled through pain to rally the Green Bay Packers to a thrilling 26-21 playoff victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, sending them to the NFC title game to face defending Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks.

Rodgers, despite struggling with a calf injury, threw two touchdown passes in a row as Green Bay fought back from a 21-13 third-quarter deficit. He passed for three touchdowns and 317 yards for the game.

"His performance in the second half was as good as it gets," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

"What he has done in this stadium in the last two games with the conditions of his calf has been spectacular."

The Cowboys though were left fuming about a controversial incompletion ruling late in the fourth quarter where instead of being at the Packers one-yard line after a brilliant Dez Bryant leap for a Tony Romo pass, they were forced to give Green Bay the ball back on downs.

Rodgers had struggled in the final two games of the regular season and the first signs that a two-week break had not allowed for a complete recovery of the calf came when the Packers took the lead on their first drive.

Rodgers looked to run with the ball but hobbling slightly, he spotted Andrew Quarless in the end zone with a four-yard pass.

"I feel like with my normal mobility I would have been able to just run that in," said Rodgers. "The pain in my calf helped me make that decision very easily."   Continued...

Jan 11, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a pass against the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter in the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports