1.12.15: Packers, Colts advance
(AP) — The NFC and AFC title games are set following victories by the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts. The Packers will take on the Seahawks in Seattle next Sunday after the Colts visit the New England Patriots.
Aaron Rodgers completed 24 of his 35 passes for 317 yards and three touchdowns as the Packers downed Dallas 26-21. The Packers trailed 21-20 until Rodgers engineered an 80-yard drive that ended with his 13-yard touchdown pass to Richard Rodgers with 9:10 remaining.
The Cowboys came close to taking the lead on the next possession. Tony Romo threw a pass to Dez Bryant near the Green Bay goal line on fourth-and-2 with 4:06 remaining. Packers coach Mike McCarthy challenged the ruling of a completed pass, and the call was overturned on replay, giving the ball back to Green Bay on downs. Dallas never got the ball back after that.
Rodgers was 7 of 7 for 75 yards on the go-ahead drive, and 9 of 9 in the fourth quarter. He played much better in the second half after showing early signs his calf injury was bothering him.
Packers running back Eddie Lacy finished with 101 yards on 19 carries. Rookie Davante Adams had seven receptions for 117 yards, including a 46-yard scoring reception late in the third quarter.
Tony Romo was 15 of 19 for 191 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. DeMarco Murray ran for 123 yards and had a one-yard scoring burst that put the Cowboys ahead 21-13 in the third quarter.
It will be the second time the Packers have been to Seattle this season. The Seahawks beat Green Bay in the season opener 36-16.
The Colts went into Denver and knocked off the Broncos 24-13 as Andrew Luck completed 27 of his 43 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns. Luck’s second scoring strike of the game was a 15-yard toss to Hakeem Nicks, putting the Colts ahead 21-13 midway through the third quarter.
Dan Herron finished with 95 total yards and scored the Colts’ first TD on a six-yard run early in the second quarter. The Broncos never led after Herron’s touchdown.
The Broncos appeared poised for a blowout win after Peyton Manning hit Demaryius Thomas for a one-yard TD just five minutes into the game. But Denver had too many defensive breakdowns and dropped too many passes to stay with the Colts.
It’s the ninth playoff loss for Manning, extending his NFL record. He finished with just 211 passing yards and had one turnover, losing a fumble while being sacked in the first half.
The Colts played the Patriots during Week 11 at Indianapolis, with New England coming away with a 42-20 victory.