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June 16, 2024

Cowboys Suffer Shocking Loss to Packers, Questions Loom About Future

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Jan 16, 2024

The Dallas Cowboys suffered a shocking 31-28 overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs on Sunday. The heavily favored Cowboys looked poised to finally get over the hump in the playoffs after a 12-5 regular season, but inexplicably fell flat with a nightmarish performance. The loss leaves the organization with more questions than answers about the future.

Prescott, Cowboys Offense Disappear When Needed Most

Quarterback Dak Prescott had a chance to lead a game-winning drive at the end of regulation, but threw a bad interception to seal the Cowboys’ fate. Prescott took full responsibility for the loss after the game:

“I take it all. I take the blame,” Prescott said. “When you play the position I play on this team, that’s what you have to do. I didn’t do a good enough job getting us in better plays, being smarter with the football. I sucked tonight. No other way to sugarcoat it.” (source)

Prescott wasn’t alone in his struggles. The Cowboys offense managed only 207 total yards, converted just 1 of 11 third downs, and scored only 7 second half points. Star receivers CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz were non-factors, combining for just 5 catches. The running game was abandoned early, with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard carrying the ball only 18 times.

For an offense stacked with weapons, the Cowboys inability to put up points when it mattered most leads to serious concerns about the scheme and play calling of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Moore’s offense has struggled in big games down the stretch the past two seasons. Head coach Mike McCarthy’s reputation of playoff shortcomings from his time in Green Bay continues in Dallas.

Complete Defensive Collapse Fuels Elimination

The Cowboys defense entered the game ready to dominate. On the first play, they forced a Packers fumble that was returned for an easy touchdown:

{{< table >}}

Score Team
Cowboys 7 Packers 0

{{< /table >}}

But that’s where the success ended. Packers backup quarterback Jordan Love tore through the Cowboys defense for 324 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back AJ Dillon gashed Dallas for 78 bruising yards.

The Cowboys run defense was perhaps most alarming, giving up 204 total yards on 39 attempts – a 5.2 yard average. With the Packers missing their top receivers, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had no answers for Love and the Green Bay offense all night. Two late touchdowns, including the game-tying score with just seconds left in regulation, were back-breakers.

Like the offense, the Cowboys defense is filled with elite talent at all three levels. Allowing a backup QB making his first career playoff start to put up 31 points shows a lack of preparation and discipline when it mattered most. Quinn’s name will certainly surface for head coaching jobs again this offseason.

Jones “Floored” By Loss, McCarthy’s Job In Jeopardy

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did not mince words in the locker room after his team’s latest playoff failure. When asked about the loss, Jones said:

“Extraordinarily disappointed,” Jones said slowly, shaking his head. “I thought we were in good shape…The coaching staff, the TEAM…” He didn’t finish the sentence, putting extra emphasis on that last word.” (source)

Jones was clearly emotional and deflated after seeing his squad waste a chance to make a deep playoff run again. The Cowboys have not reached an NFC Championship game since the 1995 season, and have now lost 7 of their last 9 playoff openers.

All signs point to significant changes coming in Dallas this offseason. Head coach Mike McCarthy’s job security will be under immense scrutiny after another early exit. Expect McCarthy and Jones to meet in the coming days to determine if McCarthy is still the right fit, or if Jones will look to make the third head coaching change of his ownership tenure.

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will also face questions about their schemes and game plans going forward. Jones will have to evaluate if either deserves a shot at being McCarthy’s replacement. Major roster churn, including potentially moving on from veterans like Ezekiel Elliott, could also be on the table.

What Happens Next For America’s Team?

The Cowboys enter the offseason facing criticism from all angles after bottling another playoff run with a talented roster. Jones called the loss “beyond my comprehension” and tougher questions will come in the next few weeks.

Dallas holds the 26th overall pick in April’s draft, so Jones may look to package assets to trade up for an immediate impact player. Before draft season kicks into high gear, Jones and McCarthy must determine if their partnership should continue in 2024 and beyond. Expect other teams to gauge Quinn and Moore’s interest in head coaching jobs as well.

Prescott knows the pressure and expectations he faces after signing a $160 million contract just two years ago. His poor play down the stretch this season, culminating in Sunday’s egg, puts his long-term standing as the Cowboys QB1 in some doubt. Can Prescott really lead Dallas on a deep playoff run after crumbling again?

The Cowboys built 2022 around finally getting back to an NFC title game and the Super Bowl. After Sunday’s humiliation, America’s Team faces a long offseason of hard questions and criticism unlike any in recent memory. The frustration goes all the way to the top with owner Jerry Jones. Significant changes could be on the horizon as Dallas searches for answers on how to win when it matters most.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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