November has rolled around, and like clockwork, the Dallas Cowboys proved once again why they can’t be trusted once expectations are placed on their shoulder pads. Nobody outside Wisconsin gave the Packers a chance to beat the Cowboys Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, Dallas must’ve missed the email that they were supposed to win this game without much resistance.
After all, Green Bay was coming off a loss to Detroit, their fifth consecutive, and a game where Rodgers threw three interceptions. Despite flaws in their run defense, Dallas controlled much of this game through three quarters. In fact, coming into this game, the Cowboys had never lost a game in the franchise’s history when leading by at least 14 points after three quarters. So, of course, the Packers stormed back to win this game in overtime, 31-28.
There’s something about November that doesn’t sit well with Jerry Jones’ Cowboys. That was always the knock during the Tony Romo era. The entire team was Hall of Fame-bound and Super Bowl-worthy in September and October. Once November hit, their attitudes and play tended to change. The same thing is still happening under Dak Prescott’s watch.
Since 2018, the Cowboys have lost their first game of November four out of five years. In that time, Dallas is 8-11 in November games, including Sunday’s loss to Green Bay. Any momentum this team builds through the first half of the year usually begins to crumble after Halloween.
It’s hard to pinpoint who’s to blame since it’s gone on for so long. We can always blame Jones, but he’s not going anywhere, so that argument is futile. For years the blame fell onto the shoulders of Tony Romo and seemingly perennial 8-8 head coach Jason Garrett. Now the burden is placed squarely on Prescott and head coach Mike McCarthy. The coach who once led the same Packers and Rodgers to a Super Bowl over a decade ago and, frankly speaking, still lives off that feat to this day.
Following a failed fourth down conversion in overtime, McCarthy was captured on the sideline slamming his headset to the ground in disgust. He shouldn’t be mad at anyone but himself. The Cowboys had every opportunity to shut the door on the Packers and failed to execute. McCarthy should be worried about Sean Payton lurking in the shadows to replace him if Dallas fails again in the postseason. Payton’s history with the Cowboys is well publicized, as he was once an assistant under Bill Parcells from 03-05.
There’d been a lot of hype around this Cowboys’ defense this season. They had built themselves up to a 6-2 record entering this game. But the one aspect of Dallas’ “Big D” that’s been shaky has been defending the run. And Green Bay took full advantage of that chink in the Cowboys’ armor, rushing for 207 yards. Aaron Jones gashed the Cowboys for 138 yards on the ground, with A.J. Dillon contributing another 65.
So, Dallas ultimately has the same issue they’ve had for a long time. They aren’t a physical team, and when they face teams willing to slow things down and get dirty, the Cowboys fold like cheap lawn chairs. It happened against Green Bay, then earlier this season in Philadelphia, and it was the same against the 49ers in the NFC wildcard game in January. Teams that aren’t concerned with style points (meaning they don’t care about passing 40 times a game) will run the ball and play tough defense and beat Dallas. It’s just that simple.
Another staggering stat from this loss is that Rodgers is now 8-2 (including playoffs) against Dallas during his career. Rodgers was down and looking washed up; the Packers came in having lost five in a row, the Cowboys were coming off the bye, and they still couldn’t beat Rodgers. Everything was in Dallas’ favor, and they still wet the bed.
We always talk about superstition in sports and what teams are “cursed” in different leagues. It may be time to face the reality that the Cowboys might be cursed. It would explain a lot. It’s only been over a quarter of a century since “America’s Team” has reached an NFC title game and Super Bowl. And they’ve only advanced past the wildcard round a handful of times since then.
Since Jerry Jones insists on “running” this team (which will continue) and sticking his nose where it shouldn’t be, this will forever be the team’s fate. They’ll win a lot of regular season games, then get trampled early in the playoffs. It’s the same ‘ol thing from these Cowboys.