GREEN BAY, WI — Mike McCarthy is unfortunately not leaving Lambeau Field as homecoming king, and for a myriad of reasons. The Dallas Cowboys were able to fight through all manner of adversity to take a 14-point lead on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers but, in the end, they were undone in a 31-28 overtime loss.
Two of the early mistakes that allowed Rodgers and his struggling passing attack to get going were interceptions thrown by Dak Prescott, with the Packers marching down the field to gain 14 combined points on those takeaways alone.
It appeared in real time that the interceptions were due to miscommunication(s) between Prescott and his receivers and, after the game, he confirmed that was the case.
"It was definitely a miscommunication," said Prescott. "The first one was to Schultz and he said he got knocked off of his route - thinking he's gonna cross face [with the defensive back] and they make a play. That's a huge play right there, for them to stop us, get the turnover and then they go score. The second one, they score off of that one as well, just a miscommunication that was similar to [the INT against the Bears] in Week 8].
"Just thinking [Lamb] was gonna cross face but him seeing something different."
Similar to the turnover grabbed by Eddie Jackson in Week 8, Lamb took his route over the shoulder of the defensive back versus breaking it flat in front, and Jackson was able to jump the route for the pick.
Still, despite those errors by the Cowboys offense, they roared back to gain a two-touchdown lead that withered away in the fourth quarter, also due in large part to penalties.
Many will argue the credibility of those flags - an offsides penalty on rookie receiver Jalen Tolbert and a holding call on offensive lineman Connor McGovern - along with a non-call against cornerback Jaire Alexander against CeeDee Lamb that, if flagged, would've put the Cowboys in field goal range on their first (and only) drive in overtime.
Prescott shared in McCarthy's frustration, though the latter was more so furious than simply frustrated, but shone a bit of light on one of the penalties in question.
"Jalen said the ref told him to scoot up the line," said Prescott.
For his part, McCarthy intimated the same in his respective post-game press conference.
It's all neither here nor there, at this point, because Dallas must now immediately regroup as they prepare to visit the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11, a team that landed their own three-point overtime victory in Week 10 against the potent Buffalo Bills on the road.
And, to that point, Prescott is anxious to get into the film room to figure out how the offense can improve and avoid helping the team potentially fall to 6-4 on the season.
"[McCarthy] was disappointed that we didn't take that step that we've talked about - laying another brick and building on what we've accomplished to this point," Prescott said. "It's tough. It was a playoff environment. You wanna win. All of them hurt when you don't win or capitalize or do what you expect to do, but you gotta remember it's just one game.
"For us, it's about sticking together, knowing where we're going and who we are. It was a tough game, a tough environment and we've got to learn from this and make sure that we grow.
"... It's still a long season and we have to control what we can."