The Dallas Cowboys have spoken in hyperbole when bringing up their season-ending 48-32 NFC Super Wild Card Weekend home loss as the conference’s two seed against the seventh-seeded Green Bay Packers, a game in which they trailed 27-0 and did not score until the final play of the first half.
Team owner and general manager Jerry Jones called the upset defeat “the most painful [in his 35 years owning the team]” because of the “great expectation and hope” for the 2023 Cowboys. Quarterback Dak Prescott, who led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes this season, admitted he flat-out sucked against Green Bay in his postgame media session after he threw two first-half interceptions, including a 64-yard pick six to Packers safety Darnell Savage. He finished with a Cowboys playoff record 403 yards passing while throwing three touchdowns on 41 of 60 passing. Those stats were essentially empty calories in terms of deciding the game’s outcome.
However, one of Dallas’ best players and quotes, All-Pro edge rusher Micah Parsons, vanished into thin air after the game, skipping postgame media availability as well as the team’s locker room cleanout media availability the next day. On Wednesday, Parsons made his first public comments about the loss on his “The Edge with Micah Parsons” podcast. His explanation for going into hiding and ducking immediate accountability about the defeat was simple: his embarrassment about his and the Cowboys’ performance overwhelmed him.
“It’s that you [the Cowboys] lose the way you do and at home,” Parsons said on his “The Edge with Micah Parsons” podcast on Wednesday. “We had talked about how much [better] we had played at home, how much it stood for us to be at home and then to go like that at home was completely embarrassing and unacceptable. I couldn’t even look at that loss or feel any type of way because of how embarrassed I felt It took me a while to even show my face in public. I disappeared completely.”
Dallas entered the postseason with a 12-5 record, boasting the NFL’s highest-scoring offense (29.9 points per game). Prescott was the first Cowboys quarterback ever to outright lead the NFL in touchdown passes (36), wide receiver CeeDee Lamb led the league in receptions (135) and they possessed the NFL’s only perfect record at home (8-0) that was part of a 16-game winning streak at AT&T Stadium. Parsons earned his third All-Pro selection in as many seasons, his first Second Team nod after two First Team nominations, after leading the NFL in quarterback pressures (103), quarterback pressure rate (21.8%) and pass-rush win rate (35.3%). None of those things, to Parsons’ point, showed up in their faceplant versus the Packers.
Perhaps one reason why arguably the most ferocious pass-rusher in the NFL couldn’t bare to speak about the defeat until now is because of his role in Green Bay first-time starting quarterback Jordan Love throwing for 272 passing yards and three touchdowns on 16 for 21 passing. Love’s 157.2 passer rating is the new single-game Packers postseason record.
Parsons could only get near Love once in what was statistically the worst game of his three-season, three-time All-Pro career. He registered one quarterback pressure and one quarterback hit on 19 pass rushes, Parsons’ lowest pressure rate in a game of his career, according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats. His only pressure came when he was unblocked, and Packers right tackle Zach Tom shut him out with no pressures in their nine matchups. Parsons may have been speaking about not being vocal following the loss when he said “I disappeared completely,” but that line also can be used to sum up how he played in that playoff game.
Thanks to the Cowboys’ latest postseason crumbling Jonesfor next season.
“I hope that we go out and get the players we’re missing because we didn’t do that this year,” Parsons said. “I hope that we challenge ourselves, become better and become greater.”
Although no matter how much Jones may supplement his roster, Dallas will need Parsons’ postseason performance to mimic his regular-season production for any of it to matter.