The Dallas Cowboys wild card loss to the Green Bay Packers doesn't look as egregious in hindsight after the Packers nearly upset the 49ers in the Divisional Round, but make no mistake: there's no defending or even trying to rationalize the loss.
At the end of the day, the Cowboys squandered a prime opportunity to exorcise their NFC Championship Game demons. Everyone has pointed the finger at Dan Quinn, and rightfully so, but that doesn't let Mike McCarthy's offense off the hook.
Sure they put up 32 points and over 500 yards of offense, but most of that came in garbage time during their fake comeback. The Cowboys defense shrinking wasn't unexpected, but everyone believed the offense would put up enough points to win the game.
After all, they faced a Green Bay defense that couldn't help but allow touchdowns all season under coordinator Joe Barry. Credit to the Packers for dialing up a game plan that foiled Dallas' offense, but that wasn't enough to save Barry's job.
News broke early Wednesday that Barry won't return as Packers DC.
Packers firing Joe Barry makes Cowboys playoff loss even more embarrassing
Just when you thought the humiliation was over.
Barry's job security was a concern all season. The Packers finished 17th in yards allowed and surrendered the 28th-most rushing yards in the league. The unit underachieved all campaign to the point where it was stunning Barry lasted until the playoffs.
In Week 15, Baker Mayfield threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-20 Buccaneers win at Lambeau Field to send the Packers to 6-8. The following week, the two-win Panthers, who ranked dead last in points and yards per game during the regular season, hung 30 points against Barry's defense in a near-upset.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys, who finished first in points and fourth in yards, were rendered useless against the Barry brigade. Final stats notwithstanding, Dak Prescott was 9-of-17 for 96 yards, no touchdowns and an interception -- equating to a 45.2 rating -- when Dallas was within two scores vs the Packers.
This news confirmed Barry was a dead-man walking. While the Packers defense turned up in the playoffs (even against the 49ers), the unit underperformed relative to expectations all year. They boast eight first-round picks on that side of the ball, and yet they served as a get-right game for struggling offenses.
Incredibly, the Cowboys were the get-right game for Barry's defense. It wasn't enough to save his job, but it just underlines the sheer embarrassment of that performance. It's arguably the worst loss in franchise history and Barry's dismissal just hammers that home.