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Gilmore on playoff meltdown: 'Didn't see it coming'


ARLINGTON, Texas — The final score was 48-32 but, to be quite honest, it wasn't ever really that close of a contest between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. The latter came out firing on all cylinders while the latter failed to get into gear time and again, and the Cowboys' season now ends in shocking fashion on Super Wild Card Weekend.

Jordan Love looked like prime Aaron Rodgers at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, the Dallas defense having no answers for him or running back Aaron Jones, and while McCarthy's offense did little (until it was too late) to save the day, it was easily the worst defensive outing in the Dan Quinn era.

If they hadn't taken their foot off of the accelerator late, Love and Co. might've hung nearly 60 points on the Cowboys on their own field.

"They started out hot and we weren't able to stop them, especially on the defensive side," said cornerback Stephon Gilmore. "We weren't able to get in a rhythm. I think they only punted one time. So, that's ultimately what it came down to."

They punted a total of three times, but two were when head coach Matt LaFleur began to ease off of the accelerator with the game well in-hand. At one point late in the second quarter, the Packers owned a 27-0 lead, before quarterback Dak Prescott was able to finally get points on the board by way of a touchdown from tight end Jake Ferguson.

For the majority of the contest, the Packers owned time of possession, conversion rate, yards per play, number of explosive plays, etc. etc., and the Cowboys defense registered zero sacks and zero takeaways for the first time all season.

"I don't know," said Gilmore, still searching for words. "I'll have to watch the tape to really see, but they were running the ball and then they got into short yardage and were able to pass the ball here and there, and we just couldn't get in a rhythm, and we didn't force any turnovers. …

"I'm surprised. I didn't see this coming."

In a locker room atmosphere that was as solemn and mournful as it's ever been, cornerback Jourdan Lewis also weighed in on what happened against the Packers — echoing Gilmore.

"I don't know," he said. "I'm kind of distraught. You don't know what to feel. We definitely didn't know that we'd be feeling this, this early. … We just didn't execute at all, and they had our number all day. We didn't execute to the best of our ability, so they took advantage of that."

Lewis says the Packers unveiled a new wrinkle or two, but that's not what decided the game early on. 

"Of course, there's going to be something in a playoff game, but we've got to be able to rely on our technique; just our basic game plan," he added. "So just understanding our leverages and stuff like that, and not trying to make a play when it's not your turn to make a play. They just took advantage of that, and they just were who they were. 

"They took advantage of us being pretty aggressive and they just did a good job."

And, with that, the Cowboys end yet another season with heartbreak but, this time, it's like little (if anything) they've ever felt before, all things considered.

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