Irony escaped Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy in his post-game Zoom conference following Tuesday night’s 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
McCarthy stood (virtually) before the assembled media and delivered his “goal” for the 3-9 Cowboys — a goal that runs in opposition to what the entire country had just witnessed.
“Frankly, we need to play better. The fourth quarter of the season is upon us. Our goal is to finish strong,” he said, via The Athletic.
It’s comical McCarthy would utter such cliche coach-speak that is so embarrassingly transparent.
Fact is, he and his staff had nearly two calendar weeks to prepare for this twice-rescheduled tilt and crapped the proverbial bed. The Cowboys were routinely bludgeoned by Baltimore’s rushing attack, which totaled 294 yards and two touchdowns, including 94 yards and a score on 13 attempts from quarterback Lamar Jackson in his first game off the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The lowlight was Jackson’s untouched 37-yard gallop to the end zone in which Dallas linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was culpable, having bitten badly on a fake handoff.
“That was all, all on me. I read it perfectly and second-guessed myself. That was my job. I need to do my job. Out of character for me,” Vander Esch said, via USA Today.
Troy Aikman: “There’s no other way to put it, this defense is just not very good.” pic.twitter.com/6Ey9zGytxt
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 9, 2020
But it wasn’t merely the Cowboys’ historically-bad run defense that contributed to yet another sorry defeat. Their offense was outgained by the Ravens, 401-388, and their special teams unit blew three field-goal opportunities.
The 2020 outfit epitomized.
“It’s disappointing. We had a lot of time going into this game,” McCarthy said, per The Athletic. “This was a great opportunity tonight and we obviously didn’t take advantage of it.”
Dallas officially clinched its first losing campaign since 2015, much closer to a top-five NFL draft pick than an undeserving playoff berth as NFC East champions. They’re slated to close the year at Cincinnati, home for San Francisco and Philadelphia, and at New York. How many victories are left on the docket? Perhaps none.
Things have slipped far away from a championship-hopeful Cowboys squad this season.
Unless you ask deluded McCarthy or his ilk, that is.
“We don’t feel that way. We got a lot of ball left. Everything is still in front of us. We gotta go prepare and get ready for Cincinnati,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said after the game, via The Athletic.