ARLINGTON — Maybe there is a Santa Claus.
Tyler’s Matt Flynn and his Green Bay Packer teammates must believe that after Christmas came early in the form of a 23-point second-half comeback to stun the Dallas Cowboys and keep his team on track to possibly grab a playoff spot.
Flynn threw four second-half touchdown passes in a 37-36 win at AT&T Stadium.
“We were all just kind of sitting around taking knees. We were like, ‘Is this real? Is this happening?’” said Flynn, who finished 26 of 39 pass attempts for 299 yards.
“This one feels so great because it was such a team effort. It was offense and defense stepping up and kind of feeding of each other.”
It tied the Green Bay record for best comeback in team history joining the 1982 Packers, who did the same against the Los Angeles Rams.
The win left Packers head coach Mike McCarthy at a loss for words, saying his “vocabulary was stuck” trying to come up with how to describe what his team accomplished.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of each and every player and everybody on the sidelines; just the way we stayed the course,” McCarthy said.
A Robert E. Lee High School graduate played in front of friends and family against the team he grew up supporting, Flynn’s dream scenario was a nightmare through two quarters.
It started off promising with Flynn completing a short pass to James Jones on a crossing pattern on Green Bay’s first possession and Jones taking it 39 yards to the Dallas 37. His next pass to fullback John Kuhn yielded a negative gain with Flynn sacked on third down.
Only the strong leg of Mason Crosby, who booted a 57-yard field goal, prevented the Packers from coming away empty.
It was the only positive of a first half that saw Green Bay combine for 132 yards and Flynn going 1 for 6 on third downs with an interception.
It added up to a 26-3 deficit at the half.
“I played pretty poor in the first half. I just couldn’t really get in a rhythm and was having difficulty seeing the field,” Flynn said. “We knew there was a chance we could (come back), but I think the conversation at halftime was just ‘Let’s be men right now; let’s show pride and go out there and execute the way we know how to,’” Flynn said.
The game and Flynn’s homecoming story could’ve ended right there.
Dallas was about to bounce back from a blowout loss last week at Chicago and get itself back tied atop the NFC East.
As for Flynn, this would be his last appearance and the last hiccup for Green Bay before Aaron Rogers returns and business resumes as usual.
Only Flynn did not follow that script, instead producing a second half worthy of the bestseller list.
On Green Bay’s first play in the second half, Flynn handed off to Eddie Lacy and the Alabama product burst through a gap and rumbled 60 yards.
It was the spark Flynn and the Packers needed to dice up the Dallas defense, scoring touchdowns on five consecutive drives. Flynn was 6 of 7 on third-down conversions in the third and fourth quarters with scoring passes of 13, 3, 11 and 3 yards.
The game-clinching score came courtesy of Lacy on a 1-yard leap into the end zone following the first of two late fourth-quarter interceptions thrown by Tony Romo.
The first one put Green Bay in position to take its only lead of the afternoon and the second clinched the win.
The Packers (7-6-1) remain firmly in the conversation for an NFC Central title and playoff spot and Flynn has gone 2-1-1 filling in for Rodgers, who could come back next week.
Flynn began the season on the Oakland Raiders before being cut and catching on with Buffalo, only to be released again.
The satisfaction on his face was plain for all to see as he addressed the media following the victory.
“It’s been a wild ride this year; 2013 has been crazy for me. I take a lot of personal satisfaction from a win like this,” Flynn said. “For whatever reason, God has blessed me with a lot of opportunities and I’ve just tried to work hard and not think about what people say, whatever it is, and focus on the good.
“I can’t really verbalize what I feel at this moment. I just know that I am very blessed to be in this locker room with these guys.”