The Dallas Cowboys allowed 17 unanswered points in a 31-28 overtime loss at the hands of the Green Bay Packers.
The Cowboys were in the driver’s seat late in the third quarter. A 35-yard touchdown catch by CeeDee Lamb put Dallas up 28-14 with just under 18 minutes left in the game.
But the defense couldn’t hold, the offense sputtered and there was questionable play calling from the coaching staff that ultimately led to the Cowboys demise. The loss moves the Cowboys to 6-3 and third place in the NFC East standings.
Here’s what went wrong in the loss:
Major mistakes from the offense
Dak Prescott wasn’t on his A-game in Green Bay. He completed 58% of his passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns, but threw two costly interceptions. It was just the second time in Prescott’s career that he threw picks on consecutive drives.
The first came just outside the red zone and the Packers would turn the next possession into a touchdown. The second interception came at midfield and was returned to the Cowboys 24 yard line. Green Bay also converted that drive for a touchdown.
Each interception came on pass attempts to the middle of the field into heavy coverage from Packers defensive backs. Seemingly, Prescott was at fault for each turnover but Michael Irvin took to Twitter to defend QB1.
This was The Playmaker’s reaction to the first interception in which Dalton Schultz was the targeted receiver:
Lamb was the target on the next interception, and Irvin once again came to Prescott’s defense:
Regardless of who should be held accountable, the Packers capitalized with 14 points off the picks and it had a huge impact on the final score.
Cowboys defense was porous
The defense deserves just as much blame as the offense for the loss. Green Bay pounded Dallas in the run game, going for a combined 207 yards on 39 attempts. Aaron Jones led the way with 138 yards and a touchdown.
With the rushing attack humming, the Cowboys defense was off balance and unprepared on play action calls by the Packers. Aaron Rodgers only threw 20 passes, but had 224 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie Christian Watson had four receptions for 107 yards and caught all three touchdowns.
Rodgers and Watson first picked on CB Anthony Brown and after he left the game with an injury, they targeted CB Kelvin Joseph. The Cowboys only sacked Rodgers twice and the QB was comfortable in the pocket without much pressure from the defensive line.
Stopping the rush has plagued Dallas all season. The Cowboys allow 143 rushing yards per game, the fourth-worst mark in the NFL. With the trade deadline having passed, the Cowboys lost the opportunity to add players that can help stuff the run.
Did the coaches blow it in OT?
The Cowboys got the ball first in overtime and had a shot at taking a three-point lead. The Packers defense forced a fourth down and Dallas had the opportunity to give Brett Maher a 52-yard field goal try. Maher is 4/6 on FGs from 50+ yards.
Instead, the Packers went for it on 4th-and-3 and failed to convert. The head-scratching call actually came on third down when the Cowboys opted for a pass play that fell incomplete instead of running with Tony Pollard who was averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
If the plan all along was to go for it on fourth down, it seems more logical to catch the Packers defense off balance with a run play. But hindsight is always 20/20.