Leading up to Sunday’s game in Green Bay against the Packers, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons made headlines for comparing Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his struggling teammates, who had lost five straight games, to a cockroach.
“My grandma told me, if you see a cockroach and it messes around, do you step on it and bury it or let it rebuild and come back to life?” Parsons told Yahoo Sports. “You step on it. I live life without regrets. You can’t regret in this game [or] it emerges 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 the not showing responsibility.
Parsons was especially angry about the run defense, which had been a weakness of the Cowboys defense all season.
The Cowboys’ defense ranks 11th overall, but 29th overall by the run.
Opponents choose to run on the Cowboys to avoid facing the league’s No. 1 pass rush. And two weeks after the Chicago Bears rushed for 239 yards against the Cowboys 43 times, the Packers again broke the 200-yard barrier with a season high in tries and a season low in passes from their future Hall of Fame quarterback.
“No one is going to let us just rush, no one is going to allow us to be who we are,” said Parsons, the team’s leading sack who spent more time defending runs than rushing the passer against the Packers. “We have to put out this fire. Until we put out this fire, we will continue to see it. If people want to continue doing their own thing, we will work on this throughout the year. We have to get this out. We must be accountable. We must keep an eye out. We have to stop the flight. Until we do, it’s going to be a long year.”
“Things like this cannot happen. Bad things tend to repeat. We need to clean this up and stop it now.
The situation with the run defense is acute as the Cowboys, who saw their two-game winning streak snap and now rank third in the NFC East at 6-3. will see a litany of strong running teams along the way, 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 offense led by quarterback Jalen Hurts.
The blueprint is already there. The Packers made the most of it as they were able to complement their success on the ground with Rodgers completing 14 of 20 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns. He was fired only 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’ defense, cutting and bullying them down the middle.
“I just think the most important thing is they played small ball,” said coach Mike McCarthy. “They attacked us in the run game and were successful, rushing for more than 200 metres. That’s the business card against us. We knew when we came in that they had two backs that would run into us. We have to improve on that and we will continue to work on that. I thought they tried to stay away from our pass rush as much as possible and made selective shots. We’re going to see it every week. Everyone is going to try to run the ball against us because that’s how we’re built.”
Because of the way they are built and because of their undisciplined playing, says Parsons.
And the Cowboys can’t put out this fire, any hopes they have of making it a special season led by what was supposed to make a difference will also go up in flames.
This story was originally published November 14, 2022 7:58 AM.