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Eatman: This loss is hard to believe, but easy to see


ARLINGTON, Texas – There are no words for this, but we're going to try.

On the one hand, it's easy to say, "This doesn't really make sense" based off of what we saw all year long.

And then again, the contrarian of the group could come right back and say, "It makes complete sense," based on what we saw all year.

Hmm, it's probably somewhere in the middle.

The Cowboys are definitely shocked. I know I'm surprised. Jerry Jones said it's one of his biggest surprises he's ever experienced. The fans were definitely stunned.

So yeah, we have reason to be a little surprised that a team that had won 16 straight home games, including eight this year, got completely dominated by a team that barely snuck into the playoffs with a quarterback that had never started a playoff game.

Then again, who could tell? Jordan Love was an incomplete pass away from having a perfect game against the Cowboys. He played better than any Packers quarterback has ever played against the Cowboys in the playoffs – better than Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and even Bart Starr in the Ice Bowl. Love was masterful against this Cowboys defense, but it really didn't start there. It started with something we've seen several times already this year – an inability to stop the run. If you can't stop a running game, you'll rarely win.

The Cowboys couldn't stop the Packers and Aaron Jones, and because of it, the play-action pass carved up the Dallas defense to the tune of 48 points.

Yeah, if you told me before the game the final score would be 48-32, I think I would've believed it. If you told me one of the quarterbacks would flirt with a perfect 158.3 passer rating, I would've definitely thought Dak Prescott could've played like that.

And that's why it's halfway stunning. But here's why it's really not:

When your defense relies on getting to the quarterback and making plays on the ball, and then you don't do either of that in the biggest game, you're going to lose – and lose big. The Cowboys pride themselves on being a team that harasses the quarterback, led by Micah Parsons, and then rallies to the ball for big turnovers.

No sacks. No turnovers. No chance to win – in a game like this.

That's just on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, the Cowboys didn't seem like they were aware of the 3:30 start time. It was closer to 5:15 or 5:30 before we finally saw any life, and by then it was already a blowout.

But let's go back to that first drive for the Cowboys – a team that has set numerous scoring records this year, mainly as a passing team that throws the ball all over the yard. But to start the playoffs, in their first drive of the game, they ran the ball five times in their first six plays, resulting in a punt.

I get it, just one drive, but you took 17 games to get to this point, and it's not like the Packers entered the game with a defense resembling the 1985 Bears. The Cowboys have an offense that really no defense has figured out, especially here at AT&T Stadium. But it felt like they tried to get cute and come out with a different style. It's already 7-0 and the Packers basically ran over them to get there. So why not come out and do what you do?

That seemed a little odd there, but it's a long game and it's not like the Cowboys didn't get to the pass. I mean, Dak threw the ball 60 times, which is never a recipe for success in any league.

The Cowboys didn't lose the game because of the first drive, or the second or the third. They lost because the Packers were absolutely better than the Cowboys on offense, defense and special teams. And they cruised past the Cowboys until they took their foot off the gas in the end and realized they have another game to play next week.

The Cowboys don't have that luxury. They're done, just like that.

All the excitement, all the build-up and all the optimism that maybe this season felt different. And it did. I wrote last week that this season definitely felt different, and I'm not changing that.

This team was different. But at the end of the day, or in this case the season, it doesn't really matter.

As head coach Mike McCarthy said, the Cowboys picked the "wrong day to have a bad day."

And with that, it turned out to be the last day.

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