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Cowboys’ weak performance fuels questions and doubts going forward

Dallas served up a feast for its naysayers in their OT loss to the Packers.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Any kind of loss this week was going to be hard to swallow for the Dallas Cowboys. But they put some cod liver oil on this one, playing down to the level of the Green Bay Packers on the way to an embarrassing overtime loss.

The stories going in were about Mike McCarthy’s return to Lambeau Field and the possible end of Aaron Rodgers’ run as an elite NFL quarterback. While there was some “trap game” potential here, most dismissed that notion given the Cowboys’ current circumstances. Trailing the Eagles in the NFC East and coming off their bye week didn’t lend itself to sleeping on any opponent, let alone this one.

But no, once again there were the Cowboys blowing up against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Instead of rising to the occasion, Dallas provided yet another ugly, painful loss that left us wondering just how good they really are.

While this may sound harsh for a game that ended in overtime, we all know that the Cowboys had no business letting it be this close. There’s no Rocky Balboa credit here; we didn’t just go the distance with Apollo Creed. Instead, we let ourselves get knocked out by Spider Rico.

Anything short of going into Lambeau and validating themselves as one of the NFC elite was going to be disappointing. But what we saw today was an outright flop; a failure that now leaves serious doubts about what the Cowboys are really capable of going forward.

Aaron Rodgers still looked like the better QB than Dak Prescott. While mistakes by receivers and some questionable no-calls on pass interference helped, Dak came out flat early and really never looked like he found a groove. It was one thing for him to have to find his rhythm against Detroit and Chicago after the five-game absence, but to struggle again after the bye week is tough to excuse.

This ballyhooed Dallas defense got run over and picked apart. After half a season of roses being thrown at their feet, neither Micah Parsons or Dan Quinn seemed to make a difference today. It was easily the worst defensive performance so far in 2022 and, again, hard to believe after a week of rest and extra preparation for a struggling Green Bay team.

Kellen Moore, who hasn’t been free from criticism already this year, did some of his worst work. Despite his running backs averaging 5.7 yards per carry, Moore continued to lean on the pass with 46 attempts and highly inconsistent results. It’s almost like since Prescott’s return that both Dak and Moore are trying to prove something, and and in this game they mostly rewarded their doubters.

Of course, this is just one game. Dallas can go a long way to repairing the damage to its reputation next Sunday against the 8-1 Vikings and then with the Giants coming to town for Thanksgiving.

But instead of heading into those games with confidence, now the Cowboys are limping out of Week 10 and with some questions that need answering. Was 6-2 an early-season mirage, or was this Packers loss the illusion?

Mike McCarthy has to figure out what happened today and fix it quickly. Losing in Green Bay cost him one NFL job already. If today’s result isn’t an anomaly, McCarthy’s future in Dallas may be the biggest question of all.

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