The Dez Bryant-caught-it game is a pill the Dallas Cowboys may never be able to swallow, and it may give fans the shakes at the mention of the Green Bay Packers or Lambeau Field. Although Sunday’s game wasn’t a postseason affair, and it didn’t end the Cowboys season, it may be a while before the effects exit the system.
Against the previously lifeless Packers, the Cowboys blew a 14-point lead to start the fourth quarter for the first time in franchise history (they entered Sunday 195-0 in such games) and dropped an 31-28 overtime affair at Lambeau to put themselves squarely behind the 8-ball in the NFC East.
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints remain punchless. They traveled to Pittsburgh and fell to the Steelers, 20-10.
The Saints dropped to 3-7 and need a turnaround of epic proportions — and a lot of help — to get back into the race in the subpar NFC South.
Instead of a glorious return to Green Bay for former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, the Cowboys head man watched his team author an historic meltdown.
The Packers entered Sunday with five straight losses.
“(McCarthy) was disappointed that we didn’t take that step that we’ve talked about — laying another brick and building on what we’ve accomplished to this point,” quarterback Dak Prescott, who threw three touchdowns and two interceptions Sunday, said. “It’s tough. It was a playoff environment. You wanna win. All of them hurt when you don’t win or capitalize or do what you expect to do, but you gotta remember it’s just one game.”
The Cowboys won the coin flip in overtime, and drove to the Packers’ 35 before they failed on fourth-and-3. Aaron Rodgers helped Green Bay move deep into Cowboys territory to set up Mason Crosby’s chip-shot game-winner.
Dallas dropped to 6-3 and is mired in third place in the East, behind the 7-2 New York Giants and unblemished Philadelphia. Up next: A trip to play the red-hot Minnesota Vikings (8-1).
“For us, it’s about sticking together, knowing where we’re going and who we are,” Prescott said. “It was a tough game, a tough environment and we’ve got to learn from this and make sure that we grow.”
The Saints must do the same. Quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 174 yards and a score, but was foiled by two interceptions while the Saints committed six separate penalties that gave Pittsburgh a first down.
“The performance wasn’t good enough really in all phases,” New Orleans head coach Dennis Allen said. “We didn’t play well enough. We didn’t coach well enough. We have to do a better job. We fought ourselves back, got back into the game at halftime, felt like we were in a good position, and we really just didn’t do anything in the second half.”
Dalton’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Johnson came 19 seconds before halftime and helped New Orleans erase an early 10-point deficit.
However, that was the only touchdown of the day against the Steelers, who were sparked by the return of T.J. Watt. New Orleans was held scoreless in the second half and running back Alvin Kamara was limited to 26 rushing yards on eight carries.
“It’s really frustrating,” Dalton said. “We know the potential of what we can be and what we can do. To have games go like this in consecutive weeks, it’s tough.”
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