When news broke that Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins would miss Sunday night’s game at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers all hope seemed lost for the Dallas Cowboys acquiring the top seed in the NFC.
Obviously if you cannot be the number one seed the next-best thing is number two and Dallas has been in a position where they have needed help to maintain their standing in that spot. The Cowboys got the help they needed on Sunday and began their game against the Arizona Cardinals with the knowledge that a win would see them sitting only behind the Packers entering the regular season finale.
We discussed everything from Sunday’s loss in our Dallas Cowboys Postgame Show on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows. Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
In spite of that dangling carrot the Cowboys fell short against the Arizona Cardinals and as a result of doing so may have to see them again in less than two weeks in the Wildcard Round. That is a problem for a week from now, but thanks to Sunday’s lethargic (mostly) showing the Cowboys seem destined for the number four seed in the conference.
To be very clear the Cowboys lost a game on Sunday for the first time since Thanksgiving Day, but the way that they did so was particular troubling given the quality of play we saw throughout December.
Welcome to a losers-only edition of winners and losers.
Loser: Dak Prescott
QB1 bounced back with a force last week and was even named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after dismantling Washington, but he was largely ineffective on Sunday against the Cardinals.
Sure, Dak had a fine fourth quarter as the Cowboys made things a little bit less humiliating. But Sunday gave us what we didn’t want which was validation that last week was the anomaly.
Prescott took a delay of game (granted the coaches deserve some criticism too) on a crucial two-point conversion that the team then had to kick an extra point on. It was an opportunity to prove that last week was the new norm and unfortunately that did not happen.
Loser: Greg Zuerlein
Greg Zuerlein has played in 31 games for the Dallas Cowboys. He has missed a kick of some kind in 14 of them.
It looks like his missed field goal was extremely critical considering the team lost by three points and while I don’t personally put it all on him the ultimate reality is that he has to make kicks when called upon.
Sunday was the third time this season that Zuerlein has missed a kick within the friendly elements of AT&T Stadium. How can he be trusted to make anything anywhere else if he is that erratic when everything is just the way he wants it?
Loser: Trevon Diggs
Early in the game Trevon Diggs got burned by AJ Green. Keep in mind this game took place in the year 2022.
Trevon is often the subject of debate for football fans as he is either an all or nothing proposition for people. Some believe that he is flawless and one of the game’s top corners while others believe he is awful and constantly getting burnt.
Obviously Diggs has done an incredible job of generating turnovers this season, but when he is beat it can often be in unfortunate fashion.
Loser: Anthony Brown
Being honest the start to the game went well for Anthony Brown... until the Cardinals started picking on him.
It is obvious when teams feel like they can have success against AB and that was clearly the case on Sunday afternoon.
Loser: Donovan Wilson
Dallas trailed Arizona 19-7 when the second half kicked off and amazingly the Cowboys were able to put the Cardinals in a 3rd and 9 situation right away.
Unfortunately Kyler Murray dumped it off to Chase Edmonds who was one-on-one against Donovan Wilson and shook away from him on his way to a first down. Arizona would go on to score a touchdown on that drive.
We often look back on ifs in a game and this is one where if Wilson is able to make a third down stop (which he did do later in the game against Murray himself) then the results are very different than they wound up being.
Loser: Amari Cooper
Obviously Amari Cooper caught a touchdown late in this game, but ultimately he had 3 catches for 18 yards and that score. A week and change after wanting more targets in the passing game the Cowboys’ top wide receiver was mostly silent.
Loser: Clean Football
This is one of the most-penalized teams in the league. When does it end?
Loser: The Narrative
The Cowboys spent all week being coy about this game and afterwards said that they did not feel like it was any sort of opportunity for a statement.
But how could it not have been? Winning this game wouldn’t have meant Dallas was going to win the Super Bowl, but with how flat the offense was prior to the Washington win a week ago a flat showing against Arizona would revert people to believing that the 56-14 win was the anomaly.
They are going to have to answer some very fair questions.
Loser: Kellen Moore
What exactly is Kellen Moore going to talk about with the Jacksonville Jaguars this week? About how he didn’t use any up-tempo one week after being reminded how successful it was?
We have come so far from the early days of the season when he looked like the next great offensive mind.
Loser: Mike McCarthy
Whether or not you feel like the Cowboys lost because of officiating is ultimately up to you, but Mike McCarthy taking that position after the game doesn’t exactly seem like the highest level of accountability.
The Cowboys were outplayed and outcoached by the Cardinals. That’s it.
Honorable Mention: Michael Gallup
It really sucks that Gallup’s season is likely over and that he is entering an offseason where he needs a new contract coming off of this. He has been such a great player for the Cowboys and even suffered his injury while catching a touchdown.
All the best to him in his recovery.