Packers' Miracle Comeback Keeps Their Season Alive
by Trent Stutzman
Dec 16, 2013 7:28 PM EST
My mind was blank, my phone exploding. As the Green Bay Packers sealed their 37-36 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, I didn’t know what to think. This team has gone through so many ups and downs of this roller coaster of a seven-game Aaron-Rodgers-less streak, my mind almost couldn’t take it anymore.
Time and time again over the past month and a half, I’ve thought the Packers’ season was over for sure. Just like this game. Down 26-3 at halftime, this game is over, right? That Dez Bryant touchdown catch midway through the fourth quarter was a nail in the coffin if ever I’ve seen one. But just like they have the past few weeks, the Packers once again found a way to fight back and keep their season alive.
But once the dust finally settled Sunday, this much was clear – the Packers are still very much alive for the playoffs. They’re not in control of their own destiny, but they’re about as close as you can get. If the Lions lose to the Ravens Monday night, or to the Giants or Vikings over the final two weeks of the season, all the Packers have to do is beat both the Steelers and Bears, and they’re the NFC North representative for the 2013 NFL playoffs.
Easier said then done, I know, but for once Rodgers’ status for next Sunday sounds positive. There were reports Sunday morning saying the Packers felt optimistic he would be healthy for the Steelers game. Then Matt Flynn said in his postgame press conference that he expected Rodgers to get healthy this week. We know he’s been close. Now he just might be ready.
Put Rodgers back in the Packers’ lineup, and everything changes. The air game is alive again. The box will clear up and give Eddie Lacy room to run. The defense will spend less time on the field and be better rested for the end of games. The Steelers and Bears are far from invincible. A Rodgers-led team can, and should, beat both of them.
Just two weeks ago, I was more interested in the 2014 NFL Draft than the Packers’ final quarter of the season. I was contemplating whether the Packers should just mail in the final four games and get a better draft pick. Maybe they could finally get a game-changing safety at the top-to-middle of the first round. My, how things have changed.
Of course, first things first. The Packers still need a little bit of help in the form of one more Lions’ loss. With everything that has been falling the Packers’ way, it seems sooner or later the universe will bring them crashing back to Earth. Or, maybe, this is one of those teams of destiny sports writers soil themselves over. I keep expecting this season to die, and it just won’t.
Suddenly, this 2013 team feels a lot like the 2010 one. They’ve been devastated by injuries, and their playoffs hopes looked all but dead. Yet they’ve found a way to keep the season alive. As the members still left over from that 2010 team know, the team that ends up winning the Super Bowl almost always either gets hot at the right time or gets some stroke of great luck. Right now, the Packers seem to meet both criteria. Just sayin’.