Packers overcome late Cowboys rally to win 34-31, advance to NFC Championship

The Green Bay Packers stunned the Dallas Cowboys on a game-winning, 51-yard field goal by Mason Crosby as time expired to advance to the NFC Championship with a 34-31 victory on Sunday.

Crosby's clincher was the last of three 50-plus yard field goals converted in the final two minutes of the game, a frenzied affair that looked like a blowout early on as Aaron Rodgers picked apart the Cowboys secondary. A one-yard touchdown plunge by Ty Montgomery put the Packers up 21-3 midway through the second quarter.

But after shaking off some early rust from their bye week, Dallas' pair of rookie phenoms eventually found their footing. Ezekiel Elliott finished the game with 125 rushing yards, while Dak Prescott became the first rookie in NFL history with three passing touchdowns in a playoff game. Two of them went to Dez Bryant, and Prescott followed the second one by rushing for a two-point conversion that knotted the game at 28 with 4:08 remaining.

It turned out that still left enough time on the clock for Rodgers to lead not one, but two go-ahead drives. The first concluded in a 56-yard field goal by Crosby, which Prescott and the Cowboys quickly responded to by driving 42 yards in 54 seconds. Dan Bailey's 52-yarder briefly tied it up before Rodgers added to his storied postseason résumé.

Facing a 3rd-and-20 from Green Bay's 32-yard line, Rodgers scrambled and found Jared Cook hugging the left sideline in Dallas territory. Cook hauled in the pass and somehow maintained his balance long enough to keep two feet inbounds at the 34-yard line, setting the stage for Crosby's game-winner and etching his name into Packers lore.

The Packers will play the Atlanta Falcons next weekend in the final NFL game played at the Georgia Dome before the Falcons move into a new stadium next season. Atlanta will attempt to qualify for its second Super Bowl in franchise history, while Green Bay aims for its seventh Super Bowl berth and second with Rodgers under center.

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Best photos from NFL Wild Card Weekend
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Best photos from NFL Wild Card Weekend
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07: Wide receiver Paul Richardson #10 of the Seattle Seahawks brings in a one-handed catch for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Andre Holmes #18 of the Oakland Raiders makes a reception against the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card game at NRG Stadium on January 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs down field for a touchdown after catching a pass from Ben Roethlisberger #7 during the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8: Micah Hyde #33 of the Green Bay Packers breaks up a pass intended for Sterling Shepard #87 of the New York Giants in the first quarter during the NFC Wild Card game at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore collides with Jay Ajayi in the third quarter as they play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL Wild Card Playoffs on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017 at Heinz Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 08: Julius Peppers #56 of the Green Bay Packers sacks Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in the second quarter during the NFC Wild Card game at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jan 7, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans strong safety Corey Moore (43) knocks the ball out of the hands of Oakland Raiders wide receiver Johnny Holton (16) during the fourth quarter of the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 8, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) is tackled by Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall (23) during the first half in the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 8, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) catches a pass in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay (22) during the first half in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 08: Randall Cobb #18 of the Green Bay Packers scores a touchdown in the third quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07: Paul Richardson #10 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a one-handed reception against Nevin Lawson #24 of the Detroit Lions during the second half of the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8: Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers walks off the field after beating the New York Giants 38-13 in the NFC Wild Card game at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08: Matt Moore #8 of the Miami Dolphins receives attention on the sideline after taking a hit during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8: Eli Apple #24 of the New York Giants tackles Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter during the NFC Wild Card game at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Houston Texans Quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) throws downfield from his own endzone during the NFL AFC Wild Card game between the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans on January 7, 2017, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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