In the day’s leading up to Sunday’s game in Green Bay against the Packers, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons drew headlines for comparing Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his struggling teammates, who had lost five straight games, to a roach.
“My grandma told me: If you see a roach and it’s fooling around, do you step on it and bury it or do you let it rebuild and get back to life?” Parsons told Yahoo Sports. “You step on it. I live life with no remorse. You can’t have no remorse in this game [or] it turns up to bite you.”
After Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss, in which the Packers rushed 39 times for 207 yards and Rodgers rallied them from a 28-14 deficit, a frustrated and disappointed Parsons found himself calling out his defensive teammates for selfish and undisciplined play and not showing any accountability.
Parsons was particularly angered by the run defense, which has been a weakness of the Cowboys defense all season.
The Cowboys defense ranks 11th overall but 29th against the run.
Opponents are choosing to run on the Cowboys to avoid facing the league’s No. 1 ranked pass rush. And two weeks after the Chicago Bears rushed 43 times for 239 yards against the Cowboys, the Packers broke the 200-yard barrier again with a season-high in attempts and a season-low in passes from their future Hall of Fame quarterback
“No one is going to allow us just to rush, no one is going to allow us to be who we are,” said Parsons, the team’s leading sacker who spent more time playing run defense than rushing the passer against the Packers. “We got to put out this fire. Until we take out this fire, we are going to keep seeing it. If people want to keep doing their own thing, we are going to deal with this all year. We have to put this out. We have to be accountable. We have to stay in our gaps. We have to stop the run. Until we do that, it’s going to be a long year.”
“Things like this can’t happen. Bad things tend to repeat. We got to clean this up and stop it now.”
The situation with the run defense is acute because the Cowboys, who saw their two game winning streak snapped and are now in third place in the NFC East at 6-3. will face a litany of strong running teams the down the stretch, starting next Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings and star running back Dalvin Cook.
They face the Giants and Saquon Barkley on Thanksgiving Day, followed by the Indianapolis Colts and Jonathan Taylor, the Houston Texans and Damien Pierce and the Tennessee Titans and Derrick Henry.
And that doesn’t even include the undefeated Eagles and their college-style attack led by quarterback Jalen Hurts.
The blueprint is already there. The Packers exploited it best because they could supplement their success on the ground with Rodgers completing 14 of 20 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns. He was sacked just twice.
Aaron Jones rushed 24 times for 138 yards and a touchdown. AJ Dillon had 65 yards on 13 carries.
The Packers attacked the edges of the Cowboys run defense and gashed and bullied them up the middle.
“I just think the biggest thing is they played small ball,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “They attacked us in the run game and had success, had over 200 yards rushing. That is the calling card against us. We knew coming in that they had two backs that were going to run against us. We have to be better there and we will continue to work on it. I thought that they tried to stay away from our pass rush as much as they can and took selective shots. We are going to see it every week. Everybody is going to try and run the ball against us because it is the way we are built.”
Because of the way they are built and because of their undisciplined play, according to Parsons.
And they Cowboys can’t put this fire out, any hopes they have of making this a special season, led by what was supposed to a difference-making defense, are going to go up in flames as well.
This story was originally published November 14, 2022 7:58 AM.