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Defense Goes from Great to Goat

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 11: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is sacked by Jeremy Mincey #92 of the Dallas Cowboys in the sceond quarter of the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 11, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

    We're going to hear a whole lot about the Dez Bryant "catch" that was overturned by one of the worst rules in all of sports and ultimately ended the NFC Divisional game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers.

    It was a huge call on an interpretation of an awful, awful rule that the NFL must fix.

    But that wasn't the only reason the Cowboys lost the game.

    The Cowboys defense was very good (great, by their standards) in the first half of the game. They held an albeit hobbled Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense to 10 first-half points, forced a turnover and harassed an immobile Rodgers into making bad throws and even sacking him a couple of times.

    The second half was a different story. For whatever reason, the Cowboys' defense began sitting back in coverage more often and stopped even trying to pressure Rodgers.

    That allowed him to sit in the pocket and pick apart a Cowboys secondary that is very average. It allowed the Packers' fast receivers, who are all great in space, to have plenty of room to work with and allowed Davante Adams and Randall Cobb each to eclipse the 100-yard mark.

    Look, compared to what we expected this year from the Cowboys' defense, the unit was an unbelievable one, and that shouldn't be discounted. Rod Marinelli should be the NFL's assistant coach of the year. But the change in philosophy from first half to second half in Sunday's game was a baffling one.