The Dallas Cowboys were never in the game with the Green Bay Packers. Not once. From the jump it was obvious that the Packers were taking the game seriously and that Dallas thought their winning streak at home and seven-point spread would do the heavy lifting for them. They did not.
As a result the season is over and the ‘looking in the mirror’ season has officially begun. Hard questions will be asked and answered in the coming days and weeks, but the team is doing just about everything it can to render next regular-season meaningless given how trusting them as a result of it (even one that goes every well for them) can turn out.
We have put together a stock report from Sunday’s disaster to try and tie a bow on it.
Here we go (ugh).
Stock Down: Mike McCarthy
This was maybe the worst coaching job that Mike McCarthy has done since taking over the Dallas Cowboys and it may be the reason that he no longer holds that post in the near future. Obviously we will see on that.
We saw penalties yet again. We saw a lack of urgency yet again. We saw a team who was in over their heads looking frazzled and afraid of the moment despite having the serious edge not just in age, but playoff experience.
It was a catastrophic failure. He has to own that.
Stock Down: Dak Prescott
Similarly, this was the worst playoff game that Dak Prescott has ever played and it obviously came at an inopportune time.
The offseason will likely (brace yourself) bring a big extension for Prescott and there is a lot of reason to believe in who he is as a player.
But Sunday was the ultimate reason why you write those big-time checks and Dak cast a bunch of doubt about himself with his performance. It was among the most frazzled he has ever looked as the Cowboys quarterback and he appeared to be pressing over and over and over again.
Stock Down: Dan Quinn
What happened to the mighty Dallas Cowboys defense?
Dan Quinn has resuscitated the idea of defense in Dallas and for that he deserves credit, but he has also overseen a group that has been carried for most of this season after Thanksgiving.
Against a young quarterback making his first playoff start his group could not muster one sack. They forced only a single punt when the game was competitive. Chaos was all over the place, organization was not, and they constantly got run over by Aaron Jones who undeniably owns the franchise.
Stock Down: CeeDee Lamb
Let it be clear that CeeDee Lamb has played at an exemplary level all year long and was a big reason for all of the team’s success, but what the heck happened?
The broadcast noted how off things were between Prescott and Lamb early in the game and the star wideout even appeared to have some dreaded poor body language which is extremely uncharacteristic for him.
In a moment where the Cowboys needed their superstars to save them Lamb was nowhere to be found. That is not all his fault, but he needed to do more and simply did not.
Stock Down: Micah Parsons
Along those lines, remember how we talked about the Cowboys not sacking Jordan Love a single time? Hello Micah Parsons.
Like Lamb it is truthful to say that Parsons has earned the right to be regarded so highly and to even talk his talk. But this was a moment that demanded somebody, anybody, to be great on the defensive side of the ball and Micah Parsons is heralded as that sort of player.
No sacks. But at least there was those two holding calls.
Stock Up: Michael Gallup
The lone stock up goes to Michael Gallup for what was a really solid performance.
It may have been his last one in a Cowboys uniform.
Stock Down: DaRon Bland
The “overrated” label will be coming for Bland this offseason with force. Things seemed to cool for him after he set the pick-six record and to be honest, how could they not?
Bland did not begin this season as someone who the Cowboys had to rely on heavily but proved he was capable of that expectation. Unfortunately he was not ready for the challenge, like everybody else, against Green Bay.
Stock Down: Brandon Aubrey
You knew the day was broken when Aubrey missed an extra point.
Stock Down: KaVontae Turpin
Once the game reached “this looks bad” territory for the Cowboys everybody on the entire team began to press frantically.
That list includes KaVontae Turpin. You don’t have to bring every kickoff out. You can’t make up for a 20-point drought on one return. Call for a touchback and take the 25-yard line and be content with it sometimes. Even just once.
Stock Down: Jerry Jones
The coaches and players change but at the end of the day there has been one constant throughout The Drought™️ and that is Jerry Jones.
Say the team makes a coaching change. Is that going to fix everything?
Mike McCarthy (this isn’t advocating for him, although I do lean towards keeping him personally) got the best football we have ever seen out of CeeDee Lamb and Dak Prescott. He established a serious homefield advantage. He oversaw a team that won the division and had a guaranteed second home playoff game if they won their first.
Tyron Smith was mostly healthy! Zack Martin has been amazing. Tyler Smith took the leap. Everybody was ready to go (that hadn’t already been lost for the season) for the playoffs.
If it cannot happen under those conditions then when can it? What is the magic elixir that seems to evade this team and ownership?
Jerry Jones has to be the one to answer that question. Nobody else.