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New year, same woes for Cowboys offense

The Cowboys played in January the same way they played most of December, which is why they won't be playing anymore.

The Cowboys gave their worst playoff performance since 1991 in a 20-7 loss Saturday to Arizona.

Most of the problems were on offense, just as they had been in the past month when Dallas lost twice and barely beat Philadelphia at home.

"It looked similar to the mistakes we made in December and you can't be that kind of offense," coach Chan Gailey said.

Quarterback Troy Aikman had trouble finding open receivers and often didn't complete passes when they were. Receivers dropped passes and the offensive line allowed four sacks.

"From an offensive standpoint I think you could place blame and criticism at all positions," said Aikman, 22-for-49 for 191 yards and a late TD. Aikman threw three interceptions.

It was surprising to see so much inconsistency from a veteran team led by several players who own three Super Bowl rings.

"Not to take anything away from Arizona," he said, "but if we had played that way against a lot of other teams we would've lost."

DEFENSE, DEFENSE: The Cardinals allowed just one TD to the same team that scored 73 points in two earlier victories. "Watching the change in this team was like watching a flower grow from a seed to a beautiful bloom," said defensive end Andre Wadsworth, the former Seminole who played his first game in a 38-10 loss to the Cowboys on Sept. 6. "After that loss in the opener, I think this time that flower had some poison in it."

HOME WRECKER: Arizona had lost 16 of 17 and nine straight at Texas Stadium. No matter, LB Jamir Miller said. "They thought we were a joke. It means a lot to win a playoff game, but it makes it sweeter to come here and dominate."

NOT SO PRIME TIME: Deion Sanders, who returned one punt 41 yards, said the Cowboys might need to be revamped. "You can't look in a mirror and be happy with the way we played," Sanders said. "This team is not getting any younger. It's time for some guys to step up or step out."

NO TICKET MASTER: Cardinals center Aaron Graham grew up in Denton, Texas, said he could have used "probably 500 tickets" for family and friends. "When I was a rookie, I bought 50 tickets when we played there," Graham said. The Cowboys made only 500 tickets available to the Cardinals.