Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy reveals unusual motivation tactic for rout of Atlanta Falcons – USA TODAY

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FRISCO, Texas — For those keeping score at home, the Dallas Cowboys have won by an average of 40 points after incorporating monkey rear ends into their game-planning.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy revealed Monday an unusual tactic he used to motivate players ahead of Sunday’s 43-3 demolition of the Atlanta Falcons.

“It’s a powder,” McCarthy said Monday from the Cowboys’ headquarters at The Star. “We made a point. It looked good on a PowerPoint. If you’ve ever seen a can of Monkey Butt, you get it.

“It’s expressive in the cure.”

The Cowboys were angry, embarrassed and disappointed after a 30-16 loss to the Denver Broncos that hovered at 30-0 partway through the fourth quarter. Then: They were motivated. McCarthy decided to seize on that theme, coining last week’s game preparation as “RAW,” or “Red Ass Week.” The mascot: The red-rear monkey from the anti-friction powder designed to counter soreness, itching and redness associated with chafing. McCarthy displayed the can’s image before the team on a PowerPoint and passed a can around the locker room.

After Broncos kicked Cowboys butts last week, Mike McCarthy displayed anti-monkey butt as motivation tool. How better to reduce tension than…anti-friction powder?

Response: 40-point victory to thrash Falcons. pic.twitter.com/ROiIwoXUS0

— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) November 15, 2021

What better antidote for a butt-kicking than powdered calamine?

“I highly recommend it, if anybody has never used it,” McCarthy said. “I don’t want to get into my personnel hygiene here, but ‘RAW,’ Red Ass Week, was the topic. We made an emphasis based on correcting what went on last week. I thought our players did a great job with it. Just had some fun with it.

“Another way to focus.”

The Cowboys stopped short of confirming their flat performance Nov. 7 against the Broncos was a sign of arrogance. But several members of the organization, including quarterback Dak Prescott, acknowledged the team might have fallen prey to overconfidence after a six-game winning streak that featured victories in hostile road stadiums, in overtime and without key stars including Prescott.

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Against the Broncos, the Cowboys offense struggled to find rhythm and their defense lacked sufficient physicality. They rebounded thoroughly this week against Atlanta, the offense scoring touchdowns on all five trips to the red zone while the defense held Atlanta to just 1-of-11 on third down. Even the special teams blocked a punt and scored a touchdown. The Falcons trailed by 33 points at halftime, and they would not score again.

The statement win, in true Monkey Butt spirit, reduced friction that had festered after the loss.

“The game of football is so much about the mental and emotional, particularly this time of the year,” McCarthy said. “Our business, you’re focused on the same thing every week. But I think the reality of being redundant and trying to emphasize the same things over and over.

“You have to keep it fresh.”

The Cowboys next travel to Kansas City with the league’s top scoring offense (31.6 points per game) and top offense by yardage (433.9), their defense also posting a 10-pass deflection, three-interception performance against Atlanta. They’ll face the Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints in a 12-day stretch. The need to prepare mentally and emotionally while saving themselves physically persists. The Monkey Butt motivation will not.

“I don’t think I’ll be up there talking about the Red Ass again, so you can have comfort in that,” McCarthy said. “I just think it’s, you try to make an emphasis, to keep it fresh for the guys. It’s a good thing to laugh. Probably don’t think I have much personality, but I do have a little bit.

“At the end of the day, you got to have more than one or two ways to make a point. And that’s all we were trying to do this week.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.