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NFL playoffs: What We Learned from Packers' upset win over Cowboys on Super Wild Card Weekend

1) Jordan Love introduces himself to the football world. Those who watched the Packers ride a strong finish into a wild-card berth are well aware of the success Love has enjoyed in the last six or so weeks. Those who weren't tracking Green Bay learned Sunday. Love has been on fire since Week 12, leading the league in passer rating and steadily gaining confidence with each passing week, and Sunday was no different. The first-year starter thrived in every situation against Dallas, showing off his patience, athletic ability and arm talent with back-foot dimes that looked eerily familiar to the throws delivered by Aaron Rodgers in years past. Love was on fire, so much that he threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns on just 15 completions, commanding an upstart Packers offense that stunned those in attendance at AT&T Stadium. We know one truth after Sunday: No one is going to be surprised by another great performance from Love in the future.

2) Dak Prescott closes great season with dud. Save for a couple of rough outings in blowout losses to playoff teams, Prescott put together an MVP-caliber season that positioned the Cowboys for what they hoped would be a deep playoff run. Unfortunately for them, Prescott delivered a clunker at the worst time, throwing two first-half interceptions and struggling with the opposing pass rush and finding open targets. In a showing reminiscent of Dallas' Week 15 blowout loss to Buffalo, Prescott and CeeDee Lamb never got on the same page, and the entire offense suffered because of it. The game's final numbers are deceiving, because it wasn't until Green Bay took a 48-16 lead that Prescott and Co. truly found a rhythm. By then, it was too late, bringing a premature end to what will feel like another wasted season for Cowboys fans -- and Prescott will not be able to escape blame.

3) Dan Quinn's stock nosedives. Reported to be a strong candidate to take over in Seattle, Quinn entered the weekend with a great opportunity to kick off Dallas' postseason by shutting down one of the NFL's hottest young passers. Instead, he watched Matt LaFleur's offense carve up his defense like a tomahawk steak, surrendering a game-opening touchdown at the end of a 12-play, 75-yard drive that was as methodical as it was impressive. Then, the hits came in bunches, with Green Bay converting a Jaire Alexander interception into an Aaron Jones rushing touchdown, and ripping through Dallas' defense on scoring drives of three, five, eight and 10 plays. Quinn's unit couldn't stop a nosebleed, much less the Packers' offense, registering a mere four QB pressures, allowing 41 points (the other Green Bay TD came via a Darnell Savage pick-six), while Jones continued his late-season surge with a 21-carry, 118-yard, three-touchdown day, running through Quinn's defense with relative ease. By the end, the result was downright embarrassing -- and might make prospective employers think twice about hiring him as their new coach.

4) Green Bay's defense delivers shocking performance. Packers fans have been dismayed with defensive coordinator Joe Barry for weeks, if not months, so they must have been just as pleasantly surprised Sunday when Barry's unit forced two first-half turnovers and pitched a shutout until the final seconds of the half. Barry's defense confused Prescott and the Cowboys' offense at a rate unseen since Dallas' loss to Buffalo and made Lamb a non-factor until the fourth quarter, by which point the Packers had already succeeded enough to rest their top defenders. There's no guarantee Green Bay will match this type of performance next weekend against San Francisco, but it sure left a lot of folks slack-jawed, especially against one of the NFL's most explosive offenses.

5) Is this the end of the Mike McCarthy era? Dallas took a notable step forward in 2023, dethroning Philadelphia as NFC East champion at the end of a regular-season journey that required total effort through Week 18. The Cowboys secured the second seed, guaranteeing home field through at least the Divisional Round. And then they went out and wasted it, falling to a spunky Packers team that entered the playoffs with the youngest roster in the NFL, yet stole Dallas' lunch money like the class bully. There's no excuse or explanation possible to rationalize the embarrassment that came with Sunday's loss to the Packers, which brought a painfully abrupt end to a postseason that began with incredible promise. And just as it has for the last quarter century, Dallas will again watch the playoffs proceed into conference championship weekend without it. Heck, the Cowboys won't even have a ticket to the Divisional Round this time, leading many to wonder just how much longer Jerry Jones will tolerate such disappointment -- especially with a handful of big-name coaches currently available for hire.

Next Gen stat of the game: Packers quarterback Jordan Love average +1.05 expected points added per dropback in his playoff debut, the sixth-most in a single game in the Next Gen Stats era (established in 2016). Love completed all four passes attempted under pressure for 114 yards and a touchdown.

NFL Research: Jordan Love's 157.2 passer rating is the highest in a road playoff game in the Super Bowl era (minimum 20 attempts), exceeding marks set by Bart Starr in 1966 and Dak Prescott in last year's Super Wild Card Weekend win over Tampa Bay.

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