The Niners defeated the Cowboys in the 2022 Divisional Game without a franchise quarterback. Kyle Shanahan deserves immense credit because he overcame a massive loss on opening day. Trey Lance suffered a season-ending injury and this threw Jimmy G. into the mix. Then his injury meant that Brock Purdy played. Shanahan transformed Purdy into one of the year’s best stories.
However, this also shows that the Cowboys’ rivals play smarter than them. Mike McCarthy cost his team by failing to remember that two-point conversions exist. They also made an appalling trick play call at the end of the game. They suffered a loss to San Francisco the previous year too because they lacked the ability to win (via USA Today Sports).
The reality is that the Cowboys haven’t had a great quarterback since Troy Aikman. He wasn’t the most talented signal-caller in their history but he provided consistency and stability. This was exactly what they required during one of their most successful periods. Aikman’s Cowboys won three Super Bowls and he sealed his Hall of Fame status.
It took them a few years to settle on Tony Romo as his eventual replacement. He had flashes of brilliance but never reached the levels that they expected. Now there is a danger that they’re repeating this with Dak Prescott. He’s also a very good quarterback but bad luck and poor play have signaled he may not be the answer (via Outkick).
There’s nothing new about the Cowboys’ recent meltdowns. Statistically, the likes of the Browns and the Jaguars throw away more leads than Dallas. However, those teams usually operate in a different hemisphere. ‘America’s Team’ expects to be there at the business end of the postseason while Cleveland is happy to have a winning season.
There’s no excuse for the Cowboys blowing it every season because they make life difficult for themselves. This is a cultural issue because no other team does this. They’ve had strong rosters over the years and should be doing better. Instead, they have one of the worst playoff records in the NFL (via The Athletic).
One man came out of the Cowboys’ 2022 loss against the Niners with credit in the bank. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn gameplanned superbly and kept Dallas in the game. The former Falcons head coach showed the world that his trauma was healing. However, Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore received a lot of criticism.
Perhaps Moore was more interested in interviewing with the Panthers than leading the Cowboys to victory. The team’s playcalling at the end of the game effectively handed a victory to San Francisco. Honestly, it was one of the most frustrating and garbage trick plays anybody has ever seen in a postseason game (via USA Today Sports).
The Cowboys think that they have a right to be in the postseason but that’s why they keep blowing it. Their heightened sense of self-importance isn’t helping them. ‘America’s Team’ believes it’s better than the likes of the Jets or Lions. But their recent record means that they belong in the same category.
At least that’s what their legendary QB Troy Aikman says. He told Sports Illustrated: “If you don’t do anything in the postseason, then you’re really at the end of the day, no different than the Jacksonville Jaguars or the New York Jets that didn’t get in” (via Bleacher Report). This is a fact that Dallas’ front office must contend with.
Hindsight is a great thing but some people think that the Cowboys should have stuck with Cooper Rush in 2022. The backup came in for the injured Dak Prescott and played consistently for the franchise. However, most analysts said that it was farcical to think that the former Chippewas star should replace Prescott (via Sportskeeda).
Then Prescott returned and went on a career-high interception streak. He also failed to win in the playoffs again after they made it to the Divisional Round. Perhaps Rush wouldn’t have done any better but a glance at Brock Purdy’s success with the Niners shows that nothing is a given. Weak selection could be another reason why the Cowboys keep blowing it.
Many fans think that Dak Prescott is the Cowboys’ best quarterback for a generation. However, that’s not saying much considering some of the quarterbacks they had on their roster in recent years. There’s no denying that Prescott has had his moments but his poor forms cost them dearly (via NBC Sports).
Nobody can blame him for the brutal broken ankle injury in 2020 that wrote off his season. However, the former fourth-round pick threw a career-record number of interceptions in 2022. The worst aspect of his 17 interceptions was that they came during an injury-shortened season. That’s why some people were calling for Cooper Rush to replace him.
In 2020, the Cowboys players almost had an internal revolt against McCarthy’s coaching staff. That’s because they felt like they weren’t preparing properly for games. The head coach also made a brazen statement about his interview for the job. He openly admitted that he lied about his preparation for the new season.
“Well, I need to confess: I told Jerry that I watched every play of the 2019 season, but I wanted the job,” McCarthy said (via Insider). “I haven’t watched every play of the season, but you do what you gotta do, right?” It’s no wonder that they’re blowing it in the playoffs if that’s his attitude.
Sometimes it’s impossible to overcome bad luck. The Cowboys experienced a lost year in 2020 after Prescott’s season-ending injury. They went through a succession of quarterbacks as they tried to salvage something but failed. Nobody prepares for the type of bad luck they suffered that year (via The Guardian).
2016 was another example of Prescott enduring bad luck. He had a great game against the Packers after they made it to the Divisional Round. They held the No.1 seed but couldn’t stop Aaron Rodgers in overtime. He threw for 302 yards with three touchdowns but a late Packer field goal clinched another playoff defeat for the Cowboys.
Romo is emblematic of the Cowboys’ problems over the past couple of decades. It’s easy to cast him as a statistical success because he holds many Dallas records. But he also went 2-4 in playoff appearances across 14 seasons. That’s atrocious and it’s bizarre that the franchise never moved on from him.
The four-time Pro Bowler was also directly culpable in some of their defeats. No fans will forget that failed snap in the 2007 Wild Card Game against the Seahawks. Romo was a great quarterback but he shows the mental weaknesses of Dallas’s front office. They wanted the new Troy Aikman and it terrified them to try another option (via Whiskey Riff).
The main reason why the Cowboys continue to fail every season is their owner Jerry Jones. No, the polarizing owner isn’t on the field when they are blowing it in the playoffs. But he is the most hands-on owner in the NFL and that’s hurting his franchise. This isn’t new because he’s been breaking ‘America’s Team since he took over in 1989.
From firing Tom Landry to retaining Jason Garrett, the list continues. Meanwhile, he has no moral compass as he showed when he signed Greg Hardy and kept Ezekiel Elliot. The franchise has become a reflection of its owner because it has a lot of money but it won’t have a legacy to show for it (via Bleacher Report).