With the Dallas Cowboys trailing 10-0 with just under 12 minutes to go, Tony Romo fumbled on a blitz by Packers cornerback Charles Woodson. It appeared second year man Felix Jones recovered the ball, rolling over with it when Packers defensive tackle Johnny Jolly ripped it out of his arms.
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews III later recovered it at the Cowboys 3.
Wade Phillips, who immediately challenged the call because it appeared Jones was down by contact after making the recovery, said officials later told him that they made a mistake trying to review the play.
Phillips said referee Jeff Triplette acknowledged that he shouldn't have allowed the play to be challenged.
"They said because they ruled it a fumble all the way through, that I couldn't challenge it even though we recovered the ball and our guy was touched and he knew the guy was down," Phillips said. "He said it's just not, it's something with the rule that you can't challenge."
Triplette accepted Phillips' challenge flag, but told a pool reporter he immediately began thinking that the Cowboys couldn't challenge the play even before he spoke to replay officials.
"It starts going through your mind, I'm not sure we can review this. And then I started thinking about by rule, you can't review a recovery of a loose ball in the field of play," Triplette said. "It was my mistake to allow him to start the challenge. I should have just talked him out of it before we started."
Woodson was one of the difference makers in the game for the Packers, forcing two fumbles and intercepting Romo on the goal line in the fourth quarter to help preserve the much-needed with for Green Bay.
"It seemed like guys had a lot of passion out there today for the game," Woodson said. "Where it came from, I don't know, but we were happy to have it and got a big win for this team. We've got to have that passion every week, and it's got to show up on the field."
Back to the fumble ... Triplette said he never looked at the film before realizing his error.
"My mistake, that's not a reviewable aspect of the play," he said. "A recovery of a loose ball in the field of play is not reviewable by rule. So, we just couldn't review."
Green Bay scored three plays later to take a commanding 17-0 lead and won 17-7.
Dallas was not charged a timeout on the play.
But the controversy didn't stop there.
The Cowboys also thought Green Bay should have been called for a delay of game after attempting to challenge a call for the third time. The Packers had lost an earlier replay challenge, meaning they could not use a third.
"I'll have to ask the league," Phillips said. "Any challenges left, when you challenge to stop the game, it kind of helps you regroup. I thought it was at least delay of the game."
The Cowboys never sustained themselves offensively, as Romo was under constant pressure against Green Bay's 3-4 scheme, even without star pass rusher Aaron Kampman.
Dallas also struggled defensively in the second half as Orlando Scandrick committed two penalties on one Green Bay scoring drive.
Adding insult to injury, Dallas also lost right tackle Marc Colombo to a broken leg.