Can you believe we’ve gone two weeks without Cowboys football and this is what we get welcomed back with? It doesn’t seem to matter how bad the Green Bay Packers are doing as they continue to deliver daggers to Cowboys’ fans. With the 31-28 overtime win on Sunday, the Pack have now beaten the Cowboys in four straight games. Enough already, it gets old! Try something different!
This game had its fun moments, but then some not-so-fun moments. Here are 10 thoughts on the overtime defeat of the Cowboys.
1. No happy homecoming for McCarthy
The stage was set for the Packers' former coach Mike McCarthy to have his “revenge” against the team that fired him, but things did not go as planned. Losers of five straight entering this game, the Packers decided to show up for this one, particularly Aaron Rodgers who went 14/20 for 224 yards with three touchdowns and no picks, and a 146.7 QB rating. Rodgers hadn’t thrown three touchdowns all season, so it’s only fitting that he puts on his cape and does so against the Cowboys. What a jerk!
2. Letting things get away
It’s never fun when the Cowboys lose, but it’s especially unsatisfying when the team looked as if they were going to run away with the game. After a little bit of back and forth, the Cowboys started to pull ahead and went up 28-14 with just under three minutes left in the third quarter.
Green Bay proceeded to score touchdowns on their next two drives while the Cowboys did next to nothing and punted on their next two drives. That was all the offense had left in them apparently, and the defense didn’t have it in them to close the deal.
3. Penalties are a killer
As bad as it was to watch the Packers tie up the game and send it into overtime, the Cowboys had a chance to wash away the bad taste of a letdown by orchestrating a nice opening drive during the bonus period. It looked as if they were going to do just that after some runs from Tony Pollard.
Sadly, the Cowboys started shooting themselves in the foot with mental mistakes. First, Jalen Tolbert decided he didn’t know where the line of scrimmage was as he was flagged for offsides that negated a nine-yard run from Pollard. Then, Connor McGovern got called for holding that negated a 16-yard run that would have at the very least set the Cowboys up for a go-ahead field goal in overtime.
Of course, it would’ve been nice to see a little consistency down the stretch.
This was not called pass interference against Green Bay... pic.twitter.com/j40aMlOj8X— Joey Hayden (@_joeyhayden) November 14, 2022
4. The extra-aggressive McCarthy
The last time McCarthy was involved in a Cowboys/Packers game at Lambeau was back in 2016. The Cowboys won convincingly thanks to rookie Dak Prescott and David Irving, but they were also aided by some cowardly 4th-and-short decisions by then-Packers head coach Mike McCarthy where he settled for field goals instead of trying to get the first down.
There was no shortage of courage from McCarthy this time around. Three times the Cowboys' head coach opted to go for it on fourth down. The first two the team converted as they were quarterback sneaks (although the second one was a little too close for comfort), but they came up short on the crucial 4th-and-3 in overtime. That’s a play McCarthy will be questioned on as he passed up a kick that was in Brett Maher’s range. Despite the result, McCarthy was on a mission to win or lose this game on his terms.
5. Hat trick for Watson
The Cowboys don’t usually give up big plays in the passing game, so that’s why it was particularly surprising to see rookie wide receiver Christian Watson go off for three touchdowns in this one. Dallas only gave up 224 receiving yards on the day, but a few of them really hurt. Watson hit the defense for a 58-yard touchdown in the first half and then again for a 39-yarder in the second half. He struck again for a third one late in the fourth quarter to tie things up.
The Cowboys' defense came into the game allowing a third-best 4.9 yards per passing attempt, but they are starting to show some vulnerability in the secondary. They are already without Jourdan Lewis for the rest of the season and Anthony Brown went down early in this one. With the more inexperienced backups Kelvin Joseph and DaRon Bland being called on more, this might be something worth monitoring.
6. Not on the same page
The Cowboys were their own worst enemies early as a couple of Dak Prescott interceptions made for a terrible start. What was odd is that both appeared to be some type of mix-up in communications where he and his receivers weren’t on the same page.
Prescott threw his first interception in the endzone when it looked as if the pass catchers were not running the correct routes. Dalton Schultz ran in the same space as Lamb allowing Packers safety Rudy Ford to collapse in the middle. Three plays later the Packers struck with their first touchdown and just like that the game was tied.
On the Cowboys' next drive, Prescott was again picked off by Ford when Prescott was expecting Lamb to run across the field but instead took off down the field. The Packers scored four plays later to go up 14-7 late in the first half.
7. We have a run defense problem
It seemed like a simple formula to beat the Packers was to keep Aaron Rodgers from being a superhero and don’t allow themselves to be run over in the running game. The Cowboys failed on both counts.
For the second straight game, the Cowboys defense allowed over 200 yards rushing in the game. They were gashed for 6.8 yards per rushing attempt as they couldn’t stop either Aaron Jones or A.J. Dillion. Both rushed for at least five yards per carry. It’s hard to understand why this was so hard for them as the Packers didn’t offer up many receiving weapons to be fearful of.
8. CeeDee hits the century mark
Lost in the commotion of this disappointing loss is the great game from the Cowboys' new no. 1 wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. It’s taken him until Week 10, but the third-year receiver finally had his first 100-yard receiving game of the season. Lamb finished the day with 11 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns and was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise underwhelming offensive outing for the Cowboys.
9. Gallup scare
Right before the Cowboys scored their first touchdown of the game, wide receiver Michael Gallup hit the grass with what looked like a leg injury. Replay didn’t show a hit of any kind so it got a little scary as we started worrying about some type of non-contact injury, especially considering he is coming back from a knee injury. Gallup returned and looked just fine, even making a nice catch near the end of the first half.
With all the Odell Beckham Jr. talk that has been going on over the last few weeks, any hit to the wide receiver group would just fuel that fire.
10. Let’s tap the breaks on catching Philly
It’s weird to be 6-3 and be in third place in the division, but that’s the reality of this year’s NFC East. The hope was that if the Cowboys can get to within a game of Philadelphia by Christmas Eve, they can take care of business themselves and still come away with that coveted no. 1 seed in the NFC.
That feat got a little bit harder after this loss. The New York Giants also won as did the Minnesota Vikings in a wild one against Buffalo. There is still a lot of football left, but it almost feels like this team is destined for a road wild card game come playoff time.