DALLAS—When the replay review with less than 90 seconds left on Sunday reversed the call of incomplete pass and gave
“I haven’t felt this way in a long time – I feel like we won a Super Bowl,” said linebacker
“Our sideline was jumping,” receiver
It was a comeback for the ages as the Packers rallied from a 23-point hole, tying the largest deficit overcome in team history 31 years ago.
Strangely enough, the replay booth not long before appeared to quash the Packers’ hopes, when Williams’ diving interception early in the fourth quarter was overturned. Referee Walt Coleman said the ball hit the ground between Williams’ arms, nullifying the turnover and Williams’ weaving return to the Dallas 7-yard line with the Packers trailing 29-24.
Dallas went on to score a touchdown on that drive, but the Packers still managed to score twice more and regain the lead by one point, needing one more stop on defense.
Cowboys QB Tony Romo, who had been intercepted by
As a result, Williams gestured manically for replay to take a look at it, and he wouldn’t give the ball back to the side judge who ruled the pass incomplete. As Dallas hustled to try to run another play, the Packers called timeout just as the replay official buzzed Coleman.
“The referee was calling for the ball, and I refused to give it to him,” Williams said. “He might have asked me about four or five times, and I didn’t give him the ball. I saw Mike (McCarthy) running up the sideline and I knew we were going to try to do something.”
The Packers did something all right, turning around an abysmal first half that saw them trailing 26-3 with their season on the brink.
“More or less, we were just saying one play at a time,” center
That lead was set up by Shields’ interception, which came against a crossing route by receiver Miles Austin. Matthews, whose sack inside the 5-yard line earlier in the fourth quarter set up
Shields recovered after getting beat off the line of scrimmage to snare the pass at midfield, giving the Packers a chance, down 36-31 with 2:46 left.
“I tell you what, I was pretty upset within that .5 second of missing the sack and Sam’s interception,” Matthews said. “But yeah, it was a huge play I think to get him off the spot, get him uncomfortable, let him know someone was coming after him, and then Sam made a heck of a play. Ultimately, that was the difference in the ballgame right there.
“I’m happy we won the game. I’m upset I missed that sack, but who knows, it might have turned out different had I got it.”
The Packers will take a nod from the football gods after all they’ve been through the last two months, and especially the last two weeks.
Down by 11 at halftime to Atlanta a week ago, the Packers rallied. Facing a deficit more than twice as large on Sunday, nobody quit.
“We came into halftime, 26-3, most guys would have packed it in, ‘OK guys, it’s not our season, let’s just go home and get ready for next year,’” Williams said. “Not that vibe here.”
Instead there’s now a sincere vibe of belief that the season holds promise. Whether or not QB
“When you give a team confidence, especially with the team we have and all the players we have and the ability we have, when we believe we can win down by that many points, in any game, we never think we’re out?” Jones said. “Look out.”
Unsaid by Jones is how far the Packers have come in 2013. A team that couldn’t finish strong in the fourth quarter for the first half of the season, even with its starting quarterback, suddenly has come through big-time late in back-to-back games with everything at stake to keep breathing in the NFC playoff chase.
“The adversity we went through, last week, this week, guys continue to fight, continue to fight, continue to fight,” Williams said. “You have to feel it’s never over for us, truthfully.”
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