ARLINGTON, Texas – On any other day, Amari Cooper would be the toast of the locker room and the toast of the NFL.
The guy set fire to the Green Bay secondary for a career-high 226 yards and a touchdown. He pulled a video game-like spin move on safety Will Redmond, faking him out of his jock strap en route to a jaw-dropping touchdown.
And yet, that's not what anyone will talk about in the wake of this 34-24 loss to the Packers. It's not what Cooper was focused on, given that he bobbled a 22-yard gain on the Cowboys' fourth play of the game, which bounced up into the arms of Jaire Alexander for a game-swinging interception.
"I feel like I had it, it was an easy catch, took my eyes off it because I was focused on the touchdown, and I dropped it and created a turnover," Cooper said.
It's hard to know for sure that Cooper would've scored on the play, but it derailed a fantastic opening drive. Dak Prescott had already found Cooper for 23 yards two plays prior, and Ezekiel Elliott was running at will through the Green Bay defense.
It isn't hard to believe that the Cowboys would have found the end zone for a 7-0 lead – if not on Cooper's bobbled catch, then soon after.
"I feel like it gave them a lot of momentum in the game, and yeah 'I got it' – that's what I was thinking, and those are the worst three words in football," he said.
Prescott was quick to give his receiver credit in that situation. It's fair to say the ball wasn't thrown perfectly – Prescott acknowledged he could have put it a couple inches in front of Cooper. But even still, he said it's big to not see finger-pointing in the wake of a frustrating loss.
"Amari saying that, I think is an example of a lot of guys in our locker room, a lot of guys on our team, who look in the mirror before they point fingers," he said. "As long as we have those type of guys on our team, we're going to be fine. We're going to keep getting better, we're going to take things like on the chin, learn from them and get better because of it – simply because of that attitude."
To Prescott's point, it's fair to say Cooper rebounded from that moment the right way.
The Packers entered this game with the No. 3 pass defense in the NFL, and Cooper didn't waste much time in burning it to the ground. His 10 catches were the second-highest total of his career, and his biggest tally as a Dallas Cowboy. He averaged a whopping 20.5 yards per catch.
The 53-yard touchdown is the obvious highlight, and deserves to be watched on a loop for the next few days. But he was reliable at all levels of the field, and his toe-dragging sideline catch that eventually got Cowboys coach Jason Garrett flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct was a thing of beauty.
It's strange to say, but it wasn't enough. And the fact that a 226-yard performance could be overshadowed by a single miscue feels like a fitting microcosm of the Cowboys' day.