Welp, that sure didn’t take long.

After a season of magnificence, the head coach Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys were supposed to be beyond this kind of thing — this flat playoff performance, rife with mistakes and poor decisions at the worst possible times. This Dallas team? They aren’t supposed to lose at home to the sixth-seeded San Francisco 49ers, a team that came into the game with a starting quarterback they’re continually working to jettison. Anything to contrary was supposed to be left in the past, remembered only as a relic of the Jason Garrett era.

No, these Cowboys were supposed to be ready. For all of it. A big run. And yet, here they are. Out of the playoffs again, with that familiar empty feeling that punctuated the Garrett era. Only this time, it’s arguably worse. Because this was a team that had an overwhelming amount of upside going for it. Now it will be remembered for a finale filled with penalties, a slow start and then a final snap that ultimately ran out the clock. Not to mention fans throwing objects at the officials as they left the field — an absurd display of emotion toward people who really weren’t responsible for Dallas tripping over itself in a 23-17 loss to the 49ers.

No, this one falls on a coaching staff that has struggled to instill game discipline, and a head coach and offensive coordinator who should have known better than to play with fire in the final seconds, running an ill-advised quarterback draw with Dak Prescott that was just asking for the worst-case scenario it produced. 

That final play will attract the most attention and remain seared in the brains of Cowboys fans for a long time. But when this playoff loss is fully sifted, there will be no shortage of miscues that ultimately cost Dallas, leaving owner Jerry Jones in a familiar position afterward: speaking of his dismay and being asked if a head coaching change is necessary.

“It was quite a letdown — quite a letdown,” Jones told reporters….

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