Mac Engel

Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers mark the return of the 8-8 Dallas Cowboys

Take your face and put it in the middle of a fan, and turn that sucker on “Max Speed” for five minutes.

That’s what being a fan of the Dallas Cowboys looks, and feels, like.

After crushing the first three opponents on its schedule, the home team has run into real teams. Now the Cowboys look like what we are accustomed to watching.

The NFL’s first $40 million quarterback again looks like a fourth-round draft pick who is worthy of a $40 handshake. The child prodigy offensive coordinator genius looks like a child who continues to pay homage to his mentor, Scott Linehan.

And a Jason Garrett team always, always, in the end, looks like a Jason Garrett team.

This is why Jerry, Stephen and Charlotte can’t give Garrett another extension, and should shred any offer to Dak Prescott until further notice.

The 2019 Dallas Cowboys have proven they are better than the Eli Manning New York Giants, the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins. Also better than the Redskins/Dolphins/Giants, the UT-Arlington football team (please note UTA does not have a football team).

The Cowboys are not better than the New Orleans Saints, and now add the Green Bay Packers to the list.

The Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers did a happy dance on Garrett and the Cowboys and left Arlington with a 34-24 win.

Do not be suckered into buying anything other than this was a “Wade Phillips’ we-won-the-fourth-quarter” type of performance.

Don’t buy the numbers, which include the Cowboys gaining 563 yards of offense.

By the time the Cowboys got into this game, it was gone. The Packers led 31-3 late in the third quarter.

Then a Packers defense that had harassed Dak all game did what NFL defenses do with a big lead. They sat back and let the other team chew clock as they gained yards, and scored some points.

In the process, Coach Process blew his cute little red stack when he angrily threw a challenge flag at a referee and was assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Don’t preach maintaining composure if you can’t follow the same edict, sir.

“You put yourself back like that, that’s a good team we’re playing and it’s hard to come back from that and get on top,” Prescott said.

And since we are on the topic of throwing interceptions ... Dak had three of his own Sunday. The first pick he threw in the first quarter should have been caught by receiver Amari Cooper. Nonetheless, it got things rolling in the wrong direction early in the afternoon.

Dak’s final interception, however, was the clear winner. With the Cowboys trying to come back and down by two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter, he had plenty of time, only to fire a fat fastball into the waiting hands of Packers corner Kevin King.

That’s a ball Dak can’t throw. If he is going to evolve and develop into something more than what we have seen, which is considerable, he has to know better. He must do better.

The guy standing on the other sideline does.

No one expects Dak to be Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers today, but he can’t do what he did Sunday and expect to beat Aaron Rodgers on any day.

Do not let any other stat fool you into believing this was anything other than a fine booty-spanking by Mr. Rodgers and his buddies.

But do believe that the absence of Cowboys starting left tackle Tyron Smith is a major issue. Smith missed the game with an ankle sprain, and his replacement, Cameron Fleming, was bad. Not quite “Chaz Green bad,” but bad.

There is good news, Cowboys fans. Their next opponent is the 0-4 New York Jets. The Cowboys are simply terrific against teams that don’t win football games.

Against the teams that do win ... that’s the problem.

The rub here is teams that make the playoffs, historically, do have a winning record. And when the Cowboys reach the 2019 Super Bowl, their opponent is likely going to have a winning record, too.

And I just don’t see the Cowboys playing the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl.

What all of us should see after five games is another Jason Garrett football team playing for the Cowboys.

Before their flurry of activity late in the third quarter and all through the fourth on Sunday, their last two games have been a train of ugly, awkward and erratic ball.

We are talking about Zeke Elliott and Jason Witten fumbles. We’re talking a lot of Dak Prescott interceptions (four of them in just the past two games).

We’re talking about a run defense that could not stop Packers running back Aaron Jones; he had more than 100 yards on Sunday with four touchdowns.

“It really wasn’t him,” Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford said. “I don’t want to take anything away from him.”

And we’re also talking about a spunky little team that didn’t give up and made the game interesting to watch.

That’s Jason Garrett football.

The Cowboys can beat the bad teams, lose to the good ones, and are interesting to watch.

So is watching someone stick their face in a fan.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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