The Dallas Cowboys suffered easily their most destabilizing loss of the season on Sunday, a fourth-quarter horror show in Green Bay that evoked horrific echoes of previous defeats at the hands of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
What’s that? Oh, thanks for nominating Week 1 as the season’s most destabilizing loss, what with its long-term Dak Prescott injury and all. Nomination rejected; clearly, the Cowboys were able to shake off the effects and prosper/vault to the top of the NFC picture behind Cooper Rush, and had emerged as a genuine threat … prior to Sunday’s game, of course, which changed the narrative.
The NFL’s always better when the Cowboys are prominently involved in the season’s most important games, and despite Sunday’s doozy, this year’s team still has a shot to enter the postseason with significant momentum thanks to the reincarnation of the Doomsday Defense.
According to some members of the team, though, the league would, for some reason, rather not have that happen.
Following Sunday’s game, America’s Team deflected blame and played the underdog again, casting doubt on the refereeing crew’s morals rather than taking accountability for another penalty fest. Based on Mike McCarthy’s postgame reaction to the overload of flags, he’s likely none too pleased with Tony Pollard pointing the finger at the officiating crew while claiming that only the Cowboys are subject to such feats of whimsy, like the swallowed whistle on CeeDee Lamb’s non-DPI call.
Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb thinks referees biased against Cowboys — beyond Green Bay Packers loss
It’s one thing to be frustrated by a preventable loss — after all, the Cowboys never should’ve reached overtime with a 14-point fourth quarter lead on Aaron Rodgers’ undermanned Packers. It’s quite another to assert that there’s a nationwide conspiracy by referees to keep the Cowboys down, especially considering the Cowboys remain an historic moneymaker in this league.
And yet, it wasn’t just Pollard who floated the idea that Dallas has to overcome hurdles nobody else does. CeeDee Lamb, too, joined the fray postgame after getting mugged, to no avail, in the extra period.
When asked whether he believed a DPI call was warranted during the game’s critical final minutes, Lamb responded with a blunt, “Yes. No question.”
However, it was his extrapolation on those remarks that dug Dallas a bigger hole.
“They don’t ever give us any explanation,” Lamb said of the opposing refs (different crews across different games, of course). “They just call flags on us and not on the opposing team.”
If Lamb is going to ascend from a complementary wideout into a true No. 1, he’s going to need to take more control over his situation. He’s going to need to play so well it demands special treatment.
And if the Cowboys are ever going to shake off their reputation for being heavily penalized under Mike McCarthy, they’re going to need to stop placing blame for fourth-quarter gags entirely on the shoulders of the zebras, and doing it publicly. Perceive what you want inside the locker room. But once that slight gets aired into a microphone, it begins to define you, and it feels like an excuse.