Green Bay Packers (9-4) 28, Dallas Cowboys (4-9) 7
Sunday December 13th 2015 (at Green Bay)
GAME RECAP (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
(GREEN BAY) - With his offense mired by inconsistency this season, Packers coach Mike McCarthy decided to make a change this week. He's calling the plays again in Green Bay. Eddie Lacy ran for 124 yards and a touchdown and fellow running back James Starks added two scores in the Packers' 28-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Green Bay (9-4) has a one-game lead in the NFC North over Minnesota after its second straight victory following a 1-4 slide. ''It's definitely a springboard for us,'' Lacy said. ''We have three games left, we've got to finish these games out.'' With 435 yards and 29 first downs, the Packers got better balance and production out of an offense that still struggled at times with penalties and short-yardage situations. The defense and running game came up with big plays in the fourth quarter. The biggest change for the Packers this week was McCarthy taking back play-calling responsibility from associate head coach Tom Clements. He called it a tough personal decision to make with a long-time assistant. ''But professionally it was what I felt I needed to do,'' McCarthy said. Instead of suggesting plays to Clements, as he had the past four weeks, it was now Clements suggesting plays to McCarthy. So there was McCarthy again, communicating the final calls to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a combination that had worked so well for so many years. ''But I don't think it's been about the play-calling,'' quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. ''It's been about the execution. We haven't executed really well. Today was a little better.'' Whatever the reason, the Packers pulled away in the end. Dallas' touchdown came on Robert Turbin's 7-yard run midway through the third quarter to make it 14-7. The Cowboys (4-9) suffered a setback to their chances of winning the mediocre NFC East. ''These teams, teams like Green Bay, they're going to go to another level here as they get on near the playoffs,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. ''That's the way you do it in the NFL, and we weren't up to it tonight.'' Rodgers threw for 218 yards and two scores. But all the Packers really needed from their star quarterback late in the game was to hand off the ball. Dallas also had success on the ground, with Darren McFadden running for 111 yards on nine carries. Dallas rushed for 171 yards, and 80 came on four plays that led to Turbin's score. But the Cowboys' passing game struggled. Matt Cassel, starting his sixth game for the injured Tony Romo, was 13 of 29 for 114 yards. A pass that deflected off star receiver Dez Bryant's hands was intercepted in the end zone by Sam Shields in the first quarter. Bryant was held to one catch for 9 yards. He had a long reception in the second quarter overturned on replay - the same thing happened to him last season during the Cowboys' loss to the Packers in an NFC divisional round playoff game. The latest reversal wasn't as big a deal to Bryant. ''It is what it is, man. When they called it incomplete, it was incomplete,'' Bryant said. Dallas was forced to punt. Green Bay scored on its next possession on Rodgers' 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Richard Rodgers to make it 14-0 with 2:40 left in the second quarter. That was it for Green Bay's offense until a 12-play, 84-yard drive in the fourth that ended with a 30-yard touchdown run from Starks on second-and-25. The Packers gained 78 yards on nine carries on the series. The Packers ran out the clock from there. The Packers finished with 230 rushing yards on 44 carries, led by Lacy's 24 attempts. A week after getting disciplined for missing curfew before the win over Detroit, Lacy was serenaded to chants of ''Eddie! Eddie'' by rain-soaked Packers fans. ''I was just making sure everything that I was doing was the right thing to do,'' Lacy said.
NOTES: Cowboys TE Jason Witten finished with five catches for 40 yards...The Cowboys managed just 11 first downs...Starks, the second part of Green Bay's one-two backfield punch, had 71 yards rushing on 11 carries, and 32 yards receiving on four catches...Shields left the game with a concussion in the second quarter after making a sliding tackle on the Dallas sideline...The Packers rushed for more than 200 yards for the first time since gaining 202 on Oct. 25, 2009, against Cleveland.
                            DALLAS     GREEN BAY
First downs                     11            29
Rushes-yards                20-171        44-230
Net Passing yards               99           205
Passing (Att-Comp-Int)     29-13-1       35-22-0
Sacked-Yards Lost             2-15          2-13
Punts-Average               7-46.4        6-47.0
Fumbles                        0-0           1-0
Penalties-Yards               60-3          8-69
Time of Possession           22:12         37:48
DALLAS    -  0   0   7   0  -  7
GREEN BAY - 14   0   0  14  - 28
1st - GB - James Starks, 13-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 7-0
1st - GB - Richard Rodgers, 3-yard pass from Rodgers (Crosby pass) GREEN BAY 14-0
3rd - DAL - Robert Turbin, 7-yard run (Dan Bailey kick) GREEN BAY 14-7
4th - GB - Starks, 30-yard run (Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 21-7
4th - GB - Eddie Lacy, 1-yard run (Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 28-7
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING
GREEN BAY - Eddie Lacy 24-124 1 TD, James Starks 11-71 1 TD, Aaron Rodgers 3-27, Randall Cobb 3-9, John Kuhn 1-2, Scott Tolzien 2-(-3)
DALLAS - Darren McFadden 9-111, Robert Turbin 7-51, Matt Cassel 3-6, Lucky Whitehead 1-3
PASSING
GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers 35-22-218 2 TD
DALLAS - Matt Cassel 29-13-114 1 INT
RECEIVING
GREEN BAY - Randall Cobb 8-81, James Jones 4-49, James Starks 4-32 1 TD, Davante Adams 2-12, Eddie Lacy 1-24, John Kuhn 1-14, Richard Rodgers 1-3 1 TD, Justin Perillo 1-3
DALLAS - Jason Witten 5-40, Terrance Williams 3-38, Cole Beasley 3-25, Dez Bryant 1-9, Lucky Whitehead 1-2
Eddie Lacy (27) ran for 124 yards on 24 carries in the Packers' victory over the Cowboys. (Credit - Mike Roemer/Associated Press)
James Starks (44) breaks into the secondary for a touchdown (Evan Siegle/P-G Media)
AROUND THE NFC NORTH
Thursday December 10th
ARIZONA 23, Minnesota 20 - Dwight Freeney stripped the ball from Teddy Bridgewater with 5 seconds to play to deprive the Vikings a chance at the tying field goal and the Arizona Cardinals clinched a playoff berth with a 23-20 victory over Minnesota on Thursday night. Bridgewater moved the Vikings to the 31-yard line, well within the range of Blair Walsh. But Freeney hit the quarterback's arm as Bridgewater tried to pass. The ball came loose and Calais Campbell recovered. Chandler Catanzaro's 47-yard field goal with 1:23 for the winning score as Arizona (11-2) won its seventh in a row. Bridgewater passed for 335 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings (8-5), who were playing without four defensive starters. Carson Palmer threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns for the Cardinals.
​Sunday December 13th
Washington 24, CHICAGO 21 - Kirk Cousins threw for 300 yards and a touchdown and the Washington Redskins hung on to beat the Bears 24-21 after Chicago's Robbie Gould missed yet another late field goal Sunday. Washington, which came in tied with Philadelphia and the Giants for the NFC East lead, went ahead early in the fourth quarter on Dustin Hopkins' 47-yard field goal. The Redskins (6-7) hung on to break a nine-game road losing streak dating to last season. The Bears (5-8) were in position to score after Jay Cutler hit Alshon Jeffery with a 50-yard pass that put the ball on the Washington 35. The usually reliable Gould, who missed the potential winner at the end of regulation in last week's overtime loss to San Francisco, got a chance to redeem himself. His 50-yard attempt wasn't even close as it sailed wide right.
ST. LOUIS 21, Detroit 14 - Todd Gurley ran for 140 yards and two second-half touchdowns, and the St. Louis Rams ended a five-game losing streak with a 21-7 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Trumaine
 Randall Cobb (18) makes a catch in front of Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) (Dan Powers/P-G Media)
Johnson's 58-yard interception return for St. Louis (5-8) was the only score in the first half, plus he did most of the work holding Calvin Johnson to a late 16-yard catch. Aaron Donald had three sacks of Matthew Stafford to further boost a defense that had sagged in recent weeks. Golden Tate caught two touchdown passes for Detroit (4-9), which didn't have much to show for extra days off to regroup from a game-ending TD pass by the Packers on Dec. 3.


NFC NORTH DIVISION STANDINGS
GREEN BAY    9   4   0   .692   317  255
Minnesota    8   5   0   .615   258  255
Chicago      5   8   0   .385   272  314
Detroit      4   9   0   .308   290  363