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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Everything was set up for the Dallas Cowboys to make a deep postseason run and end the franchise's drought of playoff appearances without reaching the conference championship game. 

The Cowboys entered the postseason with a 12-5 record for the third consecutive season. The were the NFC's No. 2 seed and boasted the NFL's highest scoring offense (29.9 points per game), Dak Prescott leading the NFL in touchdown passes (36), CeeDee Lamb leading the league in receptions (135) and the league's only perfect record at home (8-0). On Sunday evening against the 7th-seeded Green Bay Packers, none of that mattered as Green Bay cruised to a 48-32 victory to advance to the NFC divisional round. 

"What I'm zeroed in on is the fact that I thought we were in a position, everybody in this room thought we were in a position to advance this thing in the playoffs and maybe get as far as our dreams might take us," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said postgame. "This is one of my most surprises since I've been involved in sport, period...I know how disappointed everybody is."

Dallas finished the regular season with a dominant +172 point differential at AT&T Stadium in the regular season, making it seem unfathomable that they were going to stumble against the NFC's last team in. Instead, they became the owners of the largest regular season home point differential by a team to lose their playoff opener at home in NFL history. They trailed for more time (52 minutes, 8 secs) than in all eight of their regular season home games combined, an NFL-low 44 minutes and 36 seconds. The juxtaposition between the Cowboys performance all year and what they did on the field against the Packers in the postseason left Jones reeling, declaring this stumble the most painful playoff defeat in his 35 years owning and running the team.

"This seems like the most painful because we all had such great expectation and had hope for this team," Jones said. "Had thought we were aligned and in great shape, and it didn't happen for us.… I know where the responsibility starts and ends. I've got that real clear. But that's not the point. The point is that I'm disappointed for everyone."

The 48 points Green Bay scored are the most the Cowboys have ever allowed in postseason game, so naturally questions are going to arise about how that happened. 

"I didn't see that coming at all," Jones said. "You actually could have told me that if we had 32 points scored, but we all know how we got them and when we got them, but if you told me we'd score 32, I thought we'd have won it. So, a lot of things to reflect on, but I haven't done that at all, and I haven't reflected at all on anything about coach or any of that. We are amazed that we are sitting here without another game this coming weekend."

The most pressing topic for Jones to reflect is the status of head coach Mike McCarthy. Dallas has at least 12 wins for three seasons in a row under head coach Mike McCarthy after going 12-5 every year since 2021. This stretch marks the second time in franchise history for that to occur, joining the Cowboys' 1990s dynasty run from 1992-1995 in which they won three Super Bowls in four seasons. McCarthy is the first Cowboys head coach to accomplish this feat. 

However, McCarthy's Cowboys also became the first team to win 12 games in three straight seasons and fail to make the conference championship in any of them. Jones isn't feeling any pressure to have to make a decision on McCarthy right away despite a number of current high-profile candidates like Bill Belichick, Jim Harbaugh and Mike Vrabel to name a few. Jones said he doesn't know when he will sit down with McCarthy to review the 2023 season in full. 

"The only thing I'm feeling right now is the fact that we're not going forward this week, and I haven't thought about that," Jones said. "I know how to do that and handle all of those. Those aren't high pressure situations, coaches. I give a lot (of weight in that decision-making process) to today. I'll give a lot to everything we've done (in the regular season). I weigh it a lot of ways."

Jones allowed Jason Garrett to coach 10 seasons, nine full campaigns, without reaching an NFC title game. That strategy, he acknowledged, didn't work.

"I don't know about that, but I know that we haven't gotten a Super Bowl," Jones said. "So as it turns out, what I was doing back in those years didn't work. So we'll look at it from that perspective."

McCarthy simply expressed his frustration and disappointment about the loss when asked about his job status moving forward. 

"I think the biggest thing is, you know, we're disappointed," McCarthy said postgame. "I got a whole team in the locker room that's hurting. I haven't thought past the outcome of this game."

Prescott, who became the first quarterback in Cowboys history to lead the NFL outright in passing touchdowns while compiling a career-high 105.9 passer rating in 2023, went to bat for his head coach postgame. He is set to have a $59.5 million cap hit in 2024, the second-highest in the NFL behind only Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's $64 million. He tossed two interceptions, including a 64-yard pick-six, and three garbage time touchdowns after the team fell behind 27-0 in the second quarter. He finished with 403 yards on 41 of 60 passing. 

"He's (McCarthy) been amazing," Prescott said postgame. "I don't know how they can be, but I understand the business. In that case, it should be about me as well. I've had the season that I've had because of him. This team has had the success that they've had because of him. I understand it's about winning the Super Bowl. That's the standard of this league and damn sure the standard of this place. I get it but add me to the list in that case."

Prescott's teammate and 2023 Second Team All-Pro left guard Tyler Smith said their face-plant on Sunday didn't have anything to do with the way he and his staff prepared them during the week. 

"I love Coach McCarthy," Smith said postgame. "I think we did everything we could do. He was on us about preparing the right away. He was on us about the details. That's a lot of preparation that every other guy took personally in theirs. I feel like he took care of us, we didn't change anything, didn't try to do anything crazy. We stayed us. Today, they (the Packers)  just played better football."