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Who is the Dallas Cowboys biggest scapegoat of the last decade?

There’s a lot of blame to go around, but who’s the fall guy?

Miami Dolphins v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Over the last 10 years, the Dallas Cowboys have only made the playoffs three times. And in each of those times, they lost in the divisional round of the playoffs. That includes their 2016 season when they were the number one seed in the NFC with home field advantage in the playoffs. It didn’t matter as they were one and done as they lost a heartbreaker to the Green Bay Packers on a last-second field goal.

In fact, heartbreaking losses are the name of the game for the Cowboys in recent years. All three of their defeats have come by one score or less. Each of those games were cinched when the defense failed to make a big stop at a critical point in the game. That could be that reason that when Bleacher Report recently published an article identifying each team’s scapegoat over the last decade, they opted for Rod Marinelli, highlighting the letdown in Lambeau back in 2014.

Despite leading 14-10 at halftime and 21-20 at the end of three quarters, Dallas lost the divisional-round matchup—a contest that fans might refer to as the “Dez Caught It” game.

Down five with less than five minutes remaining, Romo found Bryant on a would-be 31-yard strike to the 1-yard line on 4th-and-2. Except the catch was overturned after review, and Green Bay took over on downs.

While fans understandably still blame the officials for what was arguably a bad call, the game didn’t end on that play. The Packers still had to grind out the clock, which they did with a nine-play drive.

The Cowboys still had an opportunity to get the ball back, but the defense couldn’t make a stop, and all hope was lost when Rodgers hit Randall Cobb on this crucial third-down play.

As Bleacher Report explains, Rodgers just carved up the defense and did what was needed to get out of Lambeau with the win.

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli had no answer for Green Bay’s four-minute offense, and he had had no answer for the Packers in the second half. His unit allowed scores on three straight possessions before the final clock-killing one. On the Packers’ final touchdown drive, the Cowboys allowed Aaron Rodgers to make seven consecutive completions.

Whether he was outcoached or failed to make proper halftime adjustments, Marinelli is the one individual outside the officiating crew whom Dallas fans can blame for the premature end to their promising season.

Fast forward to 2016 when the Cowboys defense surrendered 34 points to the Packers. Despite being down 21-3 at one point, the Cowboys fought their way back in it to tie the game up at 31 with just 35 seconds left. Unfortunately, that is all Green Bay needed thanks to a clutch completion, once again from Aaron Rodgers.

That sideline catch set up the game winning field goal by Mason Crosby to send the Packers to the NFC Championship game.

Finally, in 2018, the Cowboys had no answer for the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round of the playoffs. Even though they held the Rams passing attack in check with only 176 total yard through the air, the defense was a doormat in the running game. Over and over the Rams just ran it down the Cowboys throat racking up 273 yards on the ground. Both Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson have 100-yard games.

The Cowboys kept fighting, and it looked like they might have a chance to comeback when Dallas scored a touchdown to make it a one-score game with 2:11 left in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the Cowboys defense couldn’t get off the field as a bootleg run by the not-so-elusive Jared Goff got the Rams a fresh set of downs, punching their ticket to the NFC Championship game.

Do you think Marinelli legitimately deserves the blame for the Cowboys wrongdoings over the last 10 years or is he worthy of being labeled a scapegoat?

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