GREEN BAY, Wis. – This is big, since never, never, never, heard this before from Mike McCarthy. And not even after a loss.
And it's not as if he's hasn't lost previously to Sunday afternoon here at Lambeau Field as the Cowboys head coach, a 31-28 overtime affair to his former Packers. Heck, that's the third one in nine games this year. Prior to that, the Cowboys had lost 15 other games in McCarthy's first two seasons with the Cowboys.
So that gives context to what he had to say.
"I thought we were in total control in overtime," he began, just beginning to warm up. "Obviously the penalties . . . ."
And then his voice uncharacteristically raised several decibels.
"Very, VERY, VERY! frustrating," he proclaimed.
"But you got to overcome those things."
McCarthy is talking about the two penalties in overtime he obviously did not see eye to eye with, two highly penal plays with the Cowboys driving right down the field with the first possession in OT.
First, on second and three at the Green Bay 46, the Cowboys having moved 29 yards from the 25 after the kickoff. And there goes running back Tony Pollard, who finished with 115 yards in his second start for the injured Ezekiel Elliott. Nine yards and a first down at the Green Bay 37.
On the move.
But there was yellow laundry on the field.
"Offensive offsides" of all things, more specifically, No. 18, Cowboys rookie wide receiver Jalen Tolbert. Yeah, minus five yards, but in reality, minus 14 yards.
Tolbert said he had checked with the down judge Sarah Thomas.
"I lined up, looked to the side and she told me to back up," Tolbert said. "I did."
"And she called a penalty."
Ever have a sequence unfold like that?
"I have not . . . but we had our opportunities," Tolbert said.
The Cowboys overcame that one, since on second and now eight at the Cowboys 49, Dak Prescott hit Pollard for a nine-yard gain. First down at the Packers 42. On the move. Still.
Then, and this really, really, really hurt. On second and 10 at the 42, rookie running back Malik Davis, now getting the second carries behind Pollard with Zeke out, shoots up the middle for 16 yards, down to the Packers 26, not only a first down but at least in manageable field goal range with 7:04 left in overtime.
Another yellow flag there near the line of scrimmage.
"Holding on offense, No. 66," this one on left guard Connor McGovern.
On the replay, McGovern had stoned the Packers defender, and as he turned to get away, McGovern pancaked him to the ground.
"Told me I kept him from making the play and he made the play," McGovern said.
Not only minus-1 but wiped out the 16-yards gained. So, in reality, minus 26. Dang, second and 19, back to the Cowboys 49. And this time, the Cowboys offense that had piled up 421 yards, could not overcome that very penal penalty. Because on fourth and three at the 35, McCarthy decided since the Cowboys were kicking into the wind that they had better go for it.
"Especially the way the game was going," he said. "Big play penalty, big play penalty, big play penalty that did not go our way," continuing to voice his displeasure.
Well, the Cowboys didn't convert, Dak getting dragged down as he was flipping the ball forward incomplete, Packers ball and the Cowboys defensive e collapse continued, with Max Crosby hitting a chip-shot 28-yard field goal 3 minutes, 9 seconds later.
"I got no explanation," McCarthy said when the penalties were brought up again. "You watched the game. The receivers check with the side all day long. JT told me he checked with the side. I don't understand the time of that, to be honest with you, you sit there the whole game with that communication . . . everybody does that in pro football, you check, you check every time.
"Obviously he must have been in the neutral zone, she called it."
This only adding to the frustration of the loss, of dropping the Cowboys to 6-3 and back into third place in the NFC East.
Then cruelest penalty of them all.