GREEN BAY, Wisc. - The Cowboys had their shot to play for the NFC Championship and at times Sunday, it appeared they would be able to get there.
But missed chances down the stretch and a questionable call and rule that will be debated for years didn't go their way. The Cowboys came up on the short end of a 26-21 loss.
Check out the instant reactions from the staff of DallasCowboys.com.
David Helman: For better or for worse, we just watched one of the most iconic plays in NFL playoffs history. It didn't go the Cowboys' way, and it ended in heartbreaking fashion, but it was an unfortunate end to a fantastic game. Both quarterbacks played at the peak of their abilities, both defenses put out their best efforts against overpowering offenses. I thought the Cowboys defense lost its way a little bit down the stretch – and of course that had something to do with the quality of the opposing quarterback. Packers receivers made plays in the second half that they weren't able to in the first. On top of that, it's impossible to forget DeMarco Murray's fumble. If Murray completes that run, Dallas is deep in Green Bay territory with a chance to take a 21-10 lead. Instead, the Packers got the ball at midfield and cut the score to 14-13. The controversial call on Bryant will be what we remember, but the Cowboys had other opportunities to win this game. Brutal ending to a fantastic season.
Bryan Broaddus: All week I had the belief that if the Cowboys were going to win this game it would be with multiple running backs and just not DeMarco Murray. It was nice to see Murray get the carries he did and there were some productive runs but they just needed a little more from that spot and I am surprised that Randle just wasn't a bigger part of the game. His first carry went for 13 yards but that wasn't until the middle of the 3rd quarter. The pattern has been to play Murray when the game is tight but I just feel like the coaches missed an opportunity by not using him more in this game.
Nick Eatman: We knew all week this would be an even game with two good teams and they lived up to the hype. I thought the Cowboys were probably more talented but it's hard to say the better team because they just didn't execute down the stretch - of either half. The end of the first half turned out to be a pivotal six-point swing and might have affected the game more than the end. I know we will have tons of content about the Dez catch - and that's what it was - but it's just an awful way for this season to end. Who knows if the Cowboys end up stopping Aaron Rodgers but I thought they deserved the chance to try. I pretty much missed all of my gut-feeling picks but I still the Cowboys should've won this game. They missed so many chances to put the pressure on Green Bay and they didn't take advantage.
I've thought about this game all week long. Sometimes I get the vision the Cowboys can't stop Aaron Rodgers and/or the Lambeau Field mystique will simply overwhelm them. And then othter times I'll see DeMarco Murray just running right over them and this ride they've been on all year isn't ready to be over. It's back and forth but it seems like the latter keeps winning out. As I've said a few times this week … I don't cover the Packers. I don't watch their games. I've seen a little bit of about 3-4 games and I think they lost three of them. I know the Packers are good. I know Rodgers is great. But like I've said, I haven't watched them much this year. What I've seen is the Cowboys and I've seen them play unbelievably well here down the stretch. Nothing I've seen all year should let me pick any team but the Cowboys right now. It's not that I owe them anything. It's that, at this point, how can I go against them? I see Murray having a big day, along with Terrance Williams and Beasley. The defense will rise to the challenge and Tyrone Crawford will get at least two sacks, maybe three. The special teams wins their side and the Cowboys keep it rolling with a 31-21 win at Lambeau.
For the initial gut feeling predictions of the staff writers posted on Saturday, click here