The sun sets on another divisional round in the NFL as the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and Tampa Buccaneers advance to their NFC and AFC championship games. The divisional round has been brutal for the Dallas Cowboys as of late, especially the last five years. Between Aaron Rodgers connection to Jared Cook, Mason Crosby‘s right leg, and wondering did Dez Bryant catch it, Dallas has had it rough. It’s hard to say which Dallas would prefer, a heart-breaking loss or being put out of their misery. As the championship round kicks off, one constant remains: the Dallas Cowboys sitting at home watching.
Dallas Cowboys Playoff Woes: Aaron Rodgers, and Did Dez Bryant Catch It?
2015 NFC Divisional Round
The 2015 Divisional showdown between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers will forever live in infamy with Dallas Cowboys fans. 2014 was the Cowboys’ best season during Tony Romo’s tenure in the NFL. A young and dominant offensive line complimented the down-hill running of DeMarco Murray to control the clock and keep the Dallas defense off the field. Tony Romo was having one of his best seasons on record amidst the prime of star wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Dez Caught It! Wait…
As Romo dueled Aaron Rodgers, Dallas found themselves down 26-21 late in the fourth quarter. On fourth down with 2 yards to go, Tony Romo fired the football down the sideline to Dez Bryant in one-on-one coverage. Bryant high-pointed the pass, reached for the end zone, and fell to the ground. The ball appeared to hit the ground and move as Bryant stretched for the goal line. The Cowboys’ current head coach, Mike McCarthy, threw the challenge flag and the play was overturned. The rest is history as the Packers went on to win before losing to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship.
3 years ago today…
Did. Dez. Catch it? pic.twitter.com/i3NMp8x5OB
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 11, 2018
What’s a “Football Move?”
Dez Bryant’s catch/drop sparked heated debate and rule changes regarding “football move(s),” and what constitutes a catch in the NFL. Had the wide receiver completed the catch Dallas would have had the ball inside the five-yard line with an opportunity to take the lead, potentially advancing to the first NFC Championship game since the 1995-1996 season.
2017 NFC Divisional Round: Dallas vs. Green Bay Rematch
The Cowboys returned to the playoffs in 2016 led by then-rookie Dak Prescott. The division-leading Cowboys played the Green Bay Packers yet again in the divisional round. Late in the game, Rodgers put together a drive into Dallas territory capped off by a 56-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to give Green Bay a 31-28 lead. Following that drive, Prescott led the Cowboys 42 yards in 58 seconds. Dan Bailey’s 52-yard field goal tied the game, seemingly forcing overtime with all the momentum in the Cowboys’ favor.
Rodgers and the Packers were tied 31-31 with Dallas when the future Hall of Fame quarterback began a 35-second drive. Green Bay’s final drive ended with Rodgers escaping the pocket and rolling to his left, finding Jared Cook for 35 yards. The football gods poured salt in the wound as the officials reviewed and confirmed the catch. Cook’s catch put the Packers in field goal range resulting in a 51-yard field goal completion, sending Dallas home 34-31.
Aaron Rodgers –> Jared Cook pic.twitter.com/1lyQbKjRkY
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) January 16, 2017
Moving On and Looking Forward for the Dallas Cowboys
The divisional round brings back memories most Dallas fans would rather forget. The debate about whether Bryant caught his infamous “drop,” heats up with every catch review. Both teams had great seasons and seemed to be on a collision course with the NFC title game. Aaron Rodgers sent both teams home. Watching Green Bay in the playoffs again, Dallas fans must be wondering what could have been and looking forward to a healthy Cowboys roster in 2021.