It felt as though the Dallas Cowboys were heading to overtime when kicker Dan Bailey drilled a 52-yard field goal to tie the game at 31-31 with 35 seconds left.
But that proved to be enough time for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to get into field goal range. The pivotal play came on a 36-yard pass from Rodgers to tight end Jared Cook, who somehow managed to stay inbounds on a spectacular catch.
That put the Packers on the Cowboys’ 32 with three seconds left and Mason Crosby hit the game-winner from 51 yards.
Asked about the Cook catch, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said: “Need to watch the tape. Can’t see the whole thing.”
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Here’s what others within the locker room said about the play that essentially ended the Cowboys’ season:
Owner Jerry Jones: “I couldn’t believe it. I just almost dismissed it as being out of bounds. I thought I had a good sight line, as it was on my side of the field. But the bottom line is it was a great play. Rodgers made great plays, and they had some receivers make some great plays. More credit to them. But I thought our team showed me in the second half that we’re capable of taking this thing all the way there too – right now. Not in the future, but right now. I might have felt I needed to see more before that second half. Not today, but just in general. I thought that was a very impressive game, the second half I’m talking about, that our team played and how they just wouldn’t quit and came back and really competed.”
Tight end Jason Witten: “There’s a lot of emotions. I try to take myself out of this because it’s not fair to anybody else. But certainly in those moments there’s raw emotion, and great play by them and to execute that kick. It’s hard to get here. Really hard to get here, and for that there’s a lot of emotions going through my mind.”
Quarterback Dak Prescott: “It is something that Aaron Rodgers … He was out of the pocket with a guy in his face and he just delivered a dime on the sideline. Cook did just as good keeping his feet in. It was an incredible play.”
Wide receiver Cole Beasley: “I was just hoping. Hoping. That’s all you can do at that point. You have no control at that point as an offense. Hoping the kicker misses or we get a block.”
Coach Jason Garrett: “[Rodgers] made a big-time play. He bought himself some time, the coverage broke down a little bit and they put themselves in position to win the game.”