The Dallas Cowboys have suffered some brutal losses in the NFL Playoffs over the years. From major letdowns to questionable calls by the officiating crew, some losses sting more than others. Of all the tough defeats they have endured in the postseason, here are five of the worst in Cowboys history.
Dallas Cowboys' worst playoff losses
#5 - 2021 NFL Wild Card Playoffs vs. San Francisco 49ers
The most recent loss in the NFL Playoffs by the Cowboys was a tough one. After an excellent season in which they achieved a 12-5 record and were the top-ranked offense in the NFL, they were unable to win their home game against the 49ers. The Cowboys committed 14 penalties, the second most by any team ever in a postseason game.
Despite sloppy play by the Cowboys, they still had their chances to win. They could not convert on an offensive drive with three minutes remaining in the game after trailing by six points. They had one more chance after that, but the game ended when the Cowboys were unable to spike the ball in time after a bizarre quarterback draw with no time outs and a limited clock remaining.
#4 - 2014 NFL Divisional Playoffs vs. Green Bay Packers
The Cowboys trailed by five points with less than five minutes to go against the Green Bay Packers. Quarterback Tony Romo threw a deep pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant on a fourth-down play. Bryant leaped over the defender and made what appeared to be a spectacular catch. After the play was reviewed, the official overturned the play and called it incomplete.
"No Catch Game" is one of the most famous games in Cowboys history. The Cowboys would go on to lose the game after the controversial call. A couple of months later, the NFL changed the rules about what qualifies as a catch, with this play being one of the main reasons why. A couple of years later, the competition committee admitted that the play should have been ruled a catch.
Dallas Cowboys' most brutal playoff losses
Here are the Dallas Cowboys' worst losses ever in the NFL Playoffs.
#3 - 2007 NFL Divisional Playoffs vs. New York Giants
The Cowboys matched a franchise record with 13 wins in the 2007 NFL season. They earned the top seed in the NFC Playoffs, and were considered the best Cowboys team overall during the Tony Romo era. They were heavily favored to win the game, but were instead upset by Eli Manning and the New York Giants, their division rivals. Romo threw a late interception that ended the game.
The biggest controversy surrounding this upsetting defeat was what happened leading up to the game. The Cowboys earned a first-round bye to be the one seed. Rather than getting in extra practice, Tony Romo, his girlfriend Jessica Simpson, and other Cowboys players took a vacation to Cabo San Lucas. It was labeled a distraction and many believe it contributed to the defeat.
#2 - 1981 NFC Championship Game vs. San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Dallas Cowboys with one of the most famous plays of all time. It will forever be known as "The Catch" in NFL history. Joe Montana completed a game-winning touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to Dwight Clark, despite excellent defensive pressure and coverage by the Cowboys.
Joe Montana would go on to win four Super Bowls following that famous game while establishing himself as one of the very best quarterbacks in NFL history. Many believe that this single moment was a catalyst for the 49ers to become a dominant NFL dynasty in the 1980s from the previous Cowboys dynasty.
#1 - 2006 NFL Wild Card Playoffs vs. Seattle Seahawks
At the top of the list for the worst losses in Cowboys playoff history is the result of a rare and massive mistake on routine play. The Cowboys trailed the Seattle Seahawks by just one point. Tony Romo put together a drive to set up a game-winning chip shot field goal for the Cowboys. They lined up for the kick and then disaster struck.
Romo, who was also the holder for kicking attempts, fumbled the snap and was unable to place it down for the kicker. Romo picked up his own fumble but was tackled short of the endzone. The fundamental error eliminated the Dallas Cowboys from the 2006 NFL Playoffs.
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