Packers 26, Cowboys 21: Whitt Watch Top 10

10. If I would’ve told you before the game that DeMarco Murray would run for 123 yards and that Tony Romo would throw only four incompletions, you would’ve taken it, right? They did, yet their team somehow still lost.

9. Feels like the Cowboys had several chances to put this game away before the refs took it away. The biggest miss might have been James Hannah’s botched fumble recovery late in the third quarter. After Dallas scored to take a 21-13 lead, Green Bay’s Randall Cobb had the kickoff punched out by C.J. Spillman at the 21. Hannah dove on the ball and it briefly nestled between his 8 and 4 before inexplicably squirting out and being ultimately recovered by the Packers’ Andrew Quarless. A turnover and cash-in there would’ve put the Cowboys’ up two scores heading into the 4th quarter.

8. Dan Bailey picked a bad time to go into a field-goal slump, and Murray picked a worse time to remember how to fumble. Before his third-quarter bobble, Murray had 240 consecutive touches without a fumble. With only lead blocker Ron Leary’s butt crack and 50 yards of muddy turf in front of him, Murray might have scored had Julius Peppers not poked the ball out of his arm as he zoomed through the gaping hole on the right side.

7. Gotta tip your fedora to Aaron Rodgers. Clearly bothered by a calf injury that needs two months to fully heal, he was reduced to a pocket passer with all the mobility of a mail box. After sensing his limitations on Green Bay’s first drive, the Cowboys tweaked their defense to stop the run and dare Rodgers to beat them. Given time to throw but no ability to run, Rodgers remained patient in the pocket and passed for 316 yards and three touchdowns, including a ridiculous 13-yard rocket to Richard Rogers. In the end, the Cowboys couldn’t, um, calf-rope Rodgers.

6. Cowboys led 14-10 at halftime, but they screwed up a sweet chance for at least a 17-7 edge. Up 14-7 and facing 3rd-and-1 at Green Bay’s 27 with :40 remaining, Romo audibled to a pass. Mistake No. 1. Any short-yardage play – especially against the Packers’ Bottom 10 rush defense – should have been Murray running left behind Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith. Mistake No. 2, Romo let a perfect shotgun snap slip between his hands and off his chest, monkeying the rhythm of the entire play. Mistake No. 3, he threw the ball anyway and it landed incomplete in the end zone to stop the clock. Mistake No. 4, Garrett decided for a field goal instead of going for it on 4th-and-1. Mistake No. 5, a rare false-start penalty on center L.P. Ladouceur pushed the ball back five yards. And Mistake No. 6, Bailey had his 50-yard field goal tipped at the line of scrimmage for a ball that would up looking like a low, shanked 4-iron. To beat the Packers at Lambeau you’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to be flawless in decisions and executions. Oh, and you’ve got to minimize possessions for Rodgers. Green Bay capitalized on those mistakes and drove for a last-second field goal. The Cowboys’ magnificent first half was downgraded to mediocre in a matter of seconds. And mistakes.

5. Me, you, Chris Christie, Dez Bryant, Jason Garrett, Odell Beckham and even Meathead Rob Lowe are convinced Dez Bryant made that catch. In fact, it will go down as the greatest non-catch in Cowboys’ playoff history. And perhaps in all of NFL post-season history.

4. I’ve always hated “through the process” for a catch. What does that even mean? Possession of a pass and two feet on the ground should be a catch. I’ve watched the NFL for six decades and, trust me, it was a better league before the Competition Committee dreamed up “through the process.” If life was ruled by "through the process" we'd all willingly sit all the way through the credits before we gave a thumbs up or down to a movie. Instead, common sense allows to judge it as soon as final scene fades.

3. Coming off 8-8 failures, and 0-4 preseason and zero playoff expectations, the Cowboys tremendously overachieved this season. Just rings real hollow after that kind of loss in that kind of game.

2. If Dez - as he was trying to do - was able to stretch that ball to the goal line and break the plane of the end zone in clear possession it would have been ruled a touchdown. How then is stretching it only to the 1-inch line ruled an incompletion? Stretching the ball, by the way, is clearly a “football move.” So, of course, is catching the ball, maintaining clear possession, getting two feet down, taking a third step and lunging toward a touchdown. Look, I think the refs made a mistake for the Cowboys last week. And today they took one away from the Cowboys. A big one. One we won’t soon forget. Dez’ acrobatic Lambeau lunge would’ve beaten the Packers in Green Bay and forever enhanced his and Romo’s legacies. Instead, it goes down as the loudest incompletion in franchise history.

1. In 1982 the Cowboys lost a playoff game because of “The Catch.” In 2015 they lost one because of “The Un-Catch.” Dezspicable.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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