The best Dallas Cowboys defense of all-time. Micah Parsons for MVP. Put all of that talk on ice following the Cowboys' humiliating loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Though down Trevon Diggs and multiple starters on the offensive line, the Cowboys were still regarded as double-digit favorites. It was an obvious trap game, even with the injuries, and Dallas walked right into it.
There's no single reason the Cowboys lost. The red zone offense was a disaster, the defense collapsed and couldn't stop the run or pass, the team racked up 13 penalties and game management left something to be desired.
Ultimately, the Cowboys played down to their competition. They came out sluggish and allowed it to snowball after they were punched in the mouth early. They didn't have the necessary urgency or discipline to get the job done.
Which is exactly why Micah Parsons' postgame quote is so frustrating.
Micah Parsons postgame quote after Cowboys loss vs Cardinals is frustrating.
"We beat ourselves." "We have to treat every game like a Super Bowl." "We can't play down to our opponent." These quotes are a far cry from the standard Cowboys players, including Parsons, set for themselves both before the season and after they started the year with back-to-back blowout wins.
Parsons led the charge about bringing the smoke every week regardless of opponent and his teammates were right behind the All-Pro in declaring this defense the best in the league after two games.
"Nah man, everyone gets the same smoke," Parsons said before Week 1 against the Giants. "It doesn't matter if we're in Wisconsin or in Boston — I'm treating everybody the same."
“I think we’re making a statement that we’ve been trying to make," said Parsons after Week 1. "We’re the best defense in the National Football League.”
DeMarcus Lawrence was one of a select few Cowboys players who performed up to expectations against Arizona. Perhaps the locker room should have taken his words to heart instead of allowing the media-driven hype to control the narrative.
“That’s for y’all to write," Lawrence said post-Week 1.“Only thing we do is go out there and play the game. If y’all feel like a statement was made, go ahead and put that mug on the front page, bold letters. I definitely feel like we did our job to the maximum of our ability. And I feel like we can still learn and get better from it.”
Nobody is blaming Parsons for the loss. If there's anyone (besides Lawrence) who can't be faulted for lack of effort, it's Parsons.
Nor are we condoning that he carries a swagger about him and isn't afraid to hype up his team. It's part of what makes him great. He feeds off that kind of energy. That said, the headline-grabbing quotes only take you so far until a humbling loss like Sunday happens.
The 2023 honeymoon is officially over. Maybe that's the best thing that could have happened to Parsons and the Cowboys.
And be thankful that it happened in Week 3.