Merry Effing Christmas!

Bill Parcells takes the blame for last night's loss to the Eagles. Takes a big man -- a very big man.

Lemme see...nope, not there. Um, not there either. Maybe...uh-unh.

Look for a shred of positivity from yesterday's game at Texas Stadium, and you'll come up emptier than Terry Hornbuckle's stocking. Biggest game of the season. NFC East Division championship on the line. First-round playoff bye up for grabs. Christmas, for crying out loud. And your Dallas Cowboys came up with that?!

They were outplayed, outhustled, outcoached and -- more troubling -- out-cared by a hungry Philadelphia Eagles team that thoroughly embarrassed the Cowboys before a national TV audience, God, Santa and even Carrie Underwood. Said a dejected Bill Parcells afterward, "We were non-competitive. You can't play like that and not be disappointed. It looked like we weren't prepared to play."

What gave it away?

The lump of coal was a complete team effort. The defense was dominated at the line of scrimmage all night, allowing a whopping 204 rushing yards. Tony Romo tarnished his Pro Bowl selection by looking frantic and flustered. Terrell Owens, as usual, dropped a key long pass. And, in the end, Jerry Jones scrambled back into the safety of the owner's box as the crowd serenaded his team with Christmas boos.

After the dust settles the Cowboys will still be in the playoffs, but after another home blowout loss it's impossible to tell just who or how good they are. They've been totally dominated at Texas Stadium by the Giants, Saints and Eagles. Fortunately, unless Philly loses to the Atlanta Falcons next week, the Cowboys will open the playoffs on the road, where they went a surprising 5-3.

There's more than enough blame to pass around for Monday's debacle, but I say it starts at the top. Well, a notch below the top. For whatever reason the Cowboys looked flat, unprepared and downright disinterested. Execution goes on the players. But preparation is a function of coaching. Great teams don't cough up late-season opportunities in their own house. And good coaches don't enable lackluster efforts.

Parcells was brought here in part of his big-game experience. But after the Christmas collapse, the Cowboys' road to the Super Bowl just got rougher, if not totally blocked. --Richie Whitt

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky