ARLINGTON, Texas — DeMarcus Lawrence described the Cowboys’ postgame locker room as “sickening.”

“We’re at house, we’re dealing with two groups,” he mentioned. “Confidently the NFL can sit down with their crew, review the film, learn from their mistakes and recover from it.”

After Dallas’ 25-22 loss to Arizona dropped them from the NFC’s No. 2 seed to fourth, Cowboys avid gamers didn’t retain advantage. They railed in opposition to an officiating crew that flagged them for 10 penalties and a collective 88 yards, while the Cardinals were docked 45 yards off seven. The referees’ most infuriating resolution, in the eyes of Cowboys defenders, arrived in the closing 3 minutes of the game: on a fumble that wasn’t.

Even head coach Mike McCarthy mentioned officiating in his postgame locker room take care of.

“We’ve bought to advantage struggling with with all people,” linebacker Leighton Vander Esch mentioned of the coach’s message. “And no longer excellent the diversified crew, if you snatch my dawdle with the walk.”

Because the game neared its finish, Cowboys defenders concept they had at final positioned offensive teammates to bring the punishing procure.

The scenario diverged from the 22-7 deficit Dallas carried after three quarters, the offense only settling true into a rhythm in length four. It used to be then that Dak Prescott learned receiver Cedrick Wilson for a 2-yard landing and Amari Cooper for a 4-yard procure. Wilson completed a 2-point conversion play and the Cowboys’ momentum used to be with regards to tough enough to overshadow Prescott’s misplaced fumble sandwiched between the 2 landing drives.

With 4: 42 to play and their lead narrowed to three, the Cardinals took the subject. They started marching, quarterback Kyler Murray scrambling for 15 and discovering tight finish Zach Ertz for 11 on either facet of runs from Drag Edmonds. The Cardinals started bleeding clock. The Cowboys fashioned their final two timeouts to quit the clock. Now, 2: 51 remained.

Murray pitched left to Edmonds, with Lawrence and Randy Gregory in pursuit. Lawrence punched loose the ball, Cowboys defensive take care of Osa Odighizuwa grabbing it as Edmonds tumbled out of bounds. An legitimate stood roughly 5 yards upfield. No whistle used to be blown. And with 2: 45 to play, asking for a matter necessitated a timeout. The Cowboys had none.

“It used to be completely a fumble,” Vander Esch mentioned. “And I excellent don’t realize how with the expertise we maintain this point to day, even when we don’t maintain timeouts this point to day, to name a matter and danger it. It’s so obvious. Certain issues are so obvious that refs are messing up.”

Cowboys avid gamers were surprisingly vocal about what they deemed overeager and at cases imprecise officiating.

“Whilst you look around the league, this isn’t excellent the first time it came about,” Vander Esch continued. “It’s admire there are video games around the league which had been dictated from excellent, I don’t know if it’s incompetence or what it is miles, but don’t abolish sense to me. It’s no longer no longer easy to repair that. Especially, if admire I mentioned, it’s so blatant on the subject and so obvious, why is anyone on the tip no longer radioing down admire, ‘let’s get this appropriate’? ‘Cause that’s no longer no longer easy. That’s excellent the ethics of the game, getting it appropriate. ‘Hi there, you made a mistake right here, repair it. Right here’s the appropriate name.’

“To me, we’re taking part in additional in opposition to the refs than we are the diversified crew.”

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Chase Edmonds of the Arizona Cardinals runs the ball and is tackled by Donovan Wilson #6 and Leighton Vander Esch #55 of the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.

Drag Edmonds of the Arizona Cardinals runs the ball and is tackled by Donovan Wilson #6 and Leighton Vander Esch #55 of the Dallas Cowboys all the contrivance by the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.

The Cowboys offense drew penalties, too. Four of five Dallas offensive linemen drew penalties on third downs in a contest where Dallas remodeled excellent three of 11 makes an are attempting.

Receiver CeeDee Lamb mentioned that laundry collection disrupted the offense’s ability to rep rhythm.

“Each gigantic play used to be called advantage due to just a few extra or much less name,” Lamb mentioned. “The refs, I in actuality feel admire, dictated that sport. It’s no secret.

Prescott mentioned he wouldn’t “gripe” about rule enforcement and he would “play in opposition to the eleven (defenders) and the others if we maintain to.” As a Cowboys chief, would Prescott recommend his teammates focal point extra on themselves and no more on officiating after feelings died down? He wouldn’t, he mentioned.

“They may be able to advise their feeling about their frustrations,” Prescott mentioned. “It is what it is miles. I have faith we’ve bought bought to accumulate the next job of looking out out for to advantage them out of it, but I’ve change into awake of it. I realize carrying the (Cowboys) celebrity and what it system. Once in a while issues don’t dawdle your system.

“We’re going to play the hand that we’re dealt and strive to overcome issues.”

Where Cowboys must give a boost to for playoffs

Officiating or no longer, the Cowboys understood tear areas where they deserve to give a boost to in the occasion that they are looking out out for to abolish a plug in the playoffs. Certain, at 11-5, Dallas has clinched the NFC East title and thus no longer much less than one house postseason contest. But the running sport that powered early-season wins managed excellent 45 yards and a pair of.6 yards per elevate all the contrivance by Sunday’s loss. A passing attack that has struggled to create continuously since October all but again featured drops and overthrows, to boot to six deflections. Prescott finally completed 24 of 38 makes an are attempting for 226 yards and three touchdowns.

“We excellent need higher communication, higher communication between all people,” mentioned Cooper, who caught three of seven targets for 18 yards and a landing. “Gamers, receivers, quarterbacks, running backs, coaches. Better communication speaking in regards to the issues we admire and the issues we don’t admire so we are in a position to excellent dawdle available in the market and play hasty.”

Did the Cardinals plan muddy Prescott’s vision? Cardinals All-Knowledgeable safety Budda Baker mentioned Arizona practiced advanced after determining Prescott used to be too noteworthy when he mastered his reads. Prescott mentioned he believes groups maintain continuously disguised coverages extra this 365 days in opposition to him than in opposition to diversified quarterbacks.

“So it’s excellent crucial for me to sight my film peep and impress the put up-snap,” Prescott mentioned. “I have faith I did a stable job of it. They did an even job of disguising, looking out out for to show blitzes after which bought available in the market, brought just a few them. They did an even job of getting their palms on some DB pressures, batting the ball down and issues admire that.

“Credit score to those guys for what they did, but we’ll see them all but again.”

On defense, Murray’s escapability neutralized just a few of what had been a potent Cowboys dawdle lumber in December. Without the identical aptitude for collapsing the pocket, Dallas struggled to get Arizona off the subject on third downs. No topic that the Cowboys entered the game allowing a league-ultimate 31.22% success payment on third downs. The Cardinals remodeled seven of 13 makes an are attempting (53.8%) by three quarters prior to Dallas stopped each of Arizona’s three fourth-quarter makes an are attempting. Composed, the following 43.8% third-down defense would maintain ranked worse than 28 defenses across the season.

Up subsequent

Constructing offensive rhythm earlier and producing third-down stops at an even bigger clip will most seemingly be emphases for the Cowboys subsequent week in Philadelphia and the following week in the wild-card spherical. So, too, will most seemingly be recapturing the complementary football that buoyed them by December. Dropping to the No. 4 seed after Sunday’s loss, the Cowboys could perhaps perhaps perhaps also merely now host the Cardinals as soon as in two weeks. Gamers mentioned they’d welcome a giant gamble to take cling of up where fourth-quarter momentum left off, believing they had learned clarity on what would work. Gamers reiterated the NFL aphorism that beating a crew twice in shut succession is annoying. And defenders mentioned seeing Murray’s chance would advantage film peep.

First, Dallas will run to Philadelphia for a sport that used to be flexed to Saturday evening at 8: 15 p.m. ET. Then: advantage house.

“If we originate this match in opposition to (Arizona), we’re wrathful,” Prescott mentioned. “Indubitably disappointing we didn’t near away with the snatch. But rattling definite no longer sorrowful.”

Apply USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.

This article in the originate looked on USA TODAY: Dallas Cowboys avid gamers rip officiating ‘incompetence’ in loss to Playing cards

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