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Instant Review: Staff Writers Give Analysis After Heartbreaking Loss

ARLINGTON, Texas. – And just like that, the season is over.

The Cowboys made a valiant comeback after trailing 21-3, but in the end, they couldn't stop one more pass from Aaron Rodgers, who led the Packers to a game-winning field goal, ending the Cowboys' season in the Divisional round of the playoffs.  

On Friday, the staff writers gave their gut feeling for Sunday's game. Check out the instant reactions from the staff of

David Helman:I called for Aaron Rodgers to throw for almost 400 yards and three touchdowns – and I still managed to underestimate him. You can criticize the Cowboys' defense, or their play calling. You can argue that Ezekiel Elliott didn't play a big enough role, or that the pass rush didn't get to Rodgers often enough. For me, what it comes down to is that Rodgers is one of the two or three best quarterbacks to ever play football, and he proved it over and over again on Sunday evening. The Cowboys had the edge at every other position, and it didn't matter in the end. Dak Prescott was phenomenal after a slow start, and Dallas fans should feel good about the future. But that feels like such a hollow promise after watching a 13-3 season go up in smoke. I honestly thought the Cowboys played like the better team overall, but Aaron Rodgers was the best player on the field – and by a wide margin.

Nick Eatman:  I don't think I underestimated the Packers but I probably overestimated the Cowboys and didn't expect them to come out rather flat. Who knows if we can pinpoint the fact this team took two weeks off from real competition, but they weren't themselves early in the game. It was a great game for the average NFL fan but Cowboys fans have to be sick about this one. Nothing I picked was right at all. The receivers didn't do much, other than Dez. I guess I said a guy named Anthony would have a big play and technically his pass interference penalty was huge. But ultimately, I thought the Cowboys would run over the Packers and it didn't happen. Exciting game but certainly not the ending the Cowboys were expecting. Just like that, a great season ends like this.  

Rob Phillips: The ball was in Aaron Rodgers' hands last. That's really the best way to sum up this classic. I thought both teams would score 30-plus points because that's about what the Packers have averaged in their previous seven straight wins, and that's about what the Cowboys have averaged in seven straight home wins. These are two dynamic offenses, but Green Bay got what they wanted and that's a faster start than their wild-card game, when they punted on their first five drives. Some will point to the Cowboys' time off contributing to a slow start (21-3 deficit in the first half), but the offense simply got in their own way early. Ultimately you have to give Rodgers credit. He's on some kind of a roll, and he made the big play at the end. But the Cowboys stayed true to their season-long mantra. They fought back. It's an obvious disappointment getting eliminated in the second round, but this team always competes and that's at least something they can carry with them into a long offseason.

Bryan Broaddus:I was expecting more of an impact from the linebackers in this game, especially from Sean Lee. He did finish the game with eight tackles and a tackle for loss which led the team, but it just didn't appear that he and the defense were able to make enough stops in the game, especially early. It was surprising to see the Packers have their way with this defense that had done such a nice job of not allowing the big play. It had been a defense the majority of the season that would bend but not break and a large part of that was due to the play of Lee. As a defense, they just couldn't make that one more stop they needed when they had the chance and in the end, it cost them the game.

For the initial gut feeling predictions of the staff writers posted on Friday, click here.

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