Published by: Bear Acuda
….and just like that, the Dallas Cowboys are out of the playoffs.”
The Dallas Cowboys, having clinched the NFC East title thanks to the backslide in Philadelphia, secured the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, opening the possibility of hosting two playoff games. Entering Sunday’s game, they boasted an impressive 16-game winning streak at home. Dak Prescott was a media darling and front-runner for NFL MVP. Their defense was Top-5 in nearly every statistical category.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, that “nearly” would end up being their Achilles heel. As they played Wild Card host to the Green Bay Packers (the lowest-seeded team in the NFC to make the playoffs), a year-long struggle with containing the opposition’s run game would be their undoing.
The Cowboys repeated a familiar pattern, one that has been repeated tirelessly since their 1995 Super Bowl win: They choke. They always choke.
More Questions Than Answers For Owner Jerry Jones and the Cowboys
Dallas didn’t just lose; they were decisively defeated, falling 48-32 to a quarterback making his playoff debut, and it wasn’t even that close. The game was decidedly one-sided from the start, and by the end, America would watch Cowboys fans turn on each other.
This loss leaves Cowboys owner Jerry Jones with significant decisions to make in the offseason. Questions arise about whether he should let go of head coach Mike McCarthy, who has a 1-3 postseason record over the last three seasons, including two home losses. Also in question is whether to promote defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, despite his defense conceding a record number of points in this playoff game. Another key decision involves quarterback Dak Prescott, who faces a nearly $60 million cap hit next season and has a 2-5 postseason record after throwing two interceptions in the game.
However, the day belonged to the Green Bay Packers, who dominated the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium (otherwise known as “Jerry World”) from start to finish. If not for the “scrub stats” acquired by Prescott after the game got out-of-hand, the score would’ve been much worse.
Packers Youth Outshines Cowboys Veterans
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur called a masterful game. He pressed all the right buttons, getting everyone involved from the opening whistle. Running back Aaron Jones looked to be in peak condition, all of the Packers’ pass-catchers found ways to contribute, and the aforementioned rookie looked more like a seasoned playoff quarterback than a wet-behind-the-ears novice.
In his first playoff start, Packers QB Jordan Love impressed, completing 16 of 21 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns, achieving a 157.2 passer rating. Though, it was Love’s ability to throw off-platform and the way he stayed in-sync at all times with his head coach and young receiving core. Dak’s inability to get on the same page with his team only made Love’s performance look that much greater.
Packers running back Aaron Jones was also hotter than cooking grease, rushing for 118 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, and wideout Romeo Doubs had an outstanding game as well, catching six passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.
The Packers’ defense was on point, with Jaire Alexander intercepting Prescott inside the Red Zone, leading to a short touchdown drive, and Darnell Savage returning an interception for a 64-yard touchdown. The Packers had a commanding 27-7 lead at halftime, despite a last-second score by the Cowboys at the end of the first half.
Prescott ended the game with 41 completions on 60 attempts for 403 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Great-ish numbers if you’re an FFL owner, but not if you’re an actual owner of an NFL franchise. Much of Dallas’ scoring occurred in the fourth quarter when they were trailing 48-16, helping pad Prescott’s stats in a game that had already slipped away.
With both the Packers and Detroit Lions winning their Wild Card games, the potential for an all-NFC North Conference Championship is still a possibility.
Green Bay will travel to #1 seed San Francisco 49ers (after their earned bye-week) and the Detroit Lions will await the winner of the Philadelphia Eagles v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wild Card game, being played today in Tampa, FL.
What changes should Jerry Jones make, if any?
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