Sunday night's loss to the San Francisco 49ers was the most embarrassing Dallas Cowboys performance in recent memory. Micah Parsons and others hyped up the game all week, which indicated they understood what was on the line and the team they were up against.
The opening five minutes were indicative of how the game would turn out. The 49ers drove 75 yards down the field on seven plays to jump out to an early 7-0 lead. The Cowboys followed that with a quick three and out, and though the defense settled in somewhat for the remainder of the first half, the flood gates opened in the third quarter.
Dallas' vaunted pass rush didn't sniff Brock Purdy, and that includes Parsons, who was as ineffective Sunday night as fans can remember. Parsons didn't record a sack or a QB hit. He was bottled up all night by the 49ers offensive line.
Despite that, Parsons was on his high horse after the game and refused to concede that San Francisco is a superior team to the Cowboys.
Cowboys fans react to Micah Parsons' postgame quote after loss to 49ers.
Come back to us, Micah.
We understand what Parsons is trying to do. It's not easy for professional athletes to admit that another team has your number. But the proof is in the pudding.
The Cowboys have preached about wanting to get tougher since the 49ers bounced them in the playoffs two years ago. While last year's playoff loss indicated they narrowed the gap, it was evident Sunday night that gap has widened and it's difficult to see a path towards it narrowing.
Is it a toughness issue? A discrepancy in talent? Somewhat, yes. Is the gap between head coaches Kyle Shanahan and Mike McCarthy bigger than we realized? Though both are susceptible to the occasional game management gaffe, Shanahan ran circles around McCarthy on Sunday.
Again, all of this was on display in the game, which makes it all the more frustrating that Parsons lacked self awareness postgame. Its OK to admit defeat. Dak Prescott called it the most "humbling" loss he's ever been a part of. Parsons refusing to do the same angered Cowboys fans, and we can't even blame them.
We don't think Parsons was talking down on the 49ers. It's more likely he was talking up the Cowboys to keep morale high -- or as high as it can be -- after a humiliating loss in front of a national audience. It'd be a different story if Parsons showed up, but Sunday was a rare case where you forgot No. 11 was on the field.
While it's very clear Parsons feeds off this kind of motivation, he opened himself up to a wave of criticism and Cowboys fans wasted no time.
There's a time and place for tough-guy quotes. This wasn't one of them.