By going full Jason Garrett.
“We just got to focus on coaching as well as we can and playing as well as we can,” he said Monday, per The Athletic, a day after Dallas snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against the Patriots. “There certainly were some things in the game that we have to get better at. We’re going to work on that as a staff and as a team.”
Things such as a questionable game plan that limited Ezekiel Elliott to 21 carries, on a wet and dreary day where the Cowboys’ franchise running back was the biggest offensive sparkplug?
Things such as his mind-melting decision to kick a field goal down seven points midway through the fourth quarter, on a 4th-and-7 from New England’s 11-yard line?
“Make it a four-point game,” Garrett rationalized in his postgame press conference, via ESPN.com. “(If) they go ahead and kick a field goal coming back, it’s still a chance to be in the game. Then what did we get it back with, just under three with a chance to go win it? So just felt good about that decision.”
Things such as Dallas having a punt blocked and it resulting in a touchdown — the difference in a 13-9 defeat?
“It wasn’t an exotic look. It was just a man rush. And unfortunately they won on one of our guys and our set wasn’t quite as clean as we wanted it to be,” Garrett reasoned, per the team’s official website. “The guy who blocked it was a little bit wide so we needed to be a little bit more vertical”
Things such as the club blowing a golden opportunity to solidify themselves as a legitimate contender, dropping to 6-5 and becoming a lightning rod for analysts everywhere?
Things such as owner Jerry Jones uncharacteristically (and very publicly) leveling his employees, unprompted?
“I don’t think there’s a game where a coaching staff couldn’t do better,” Jones said Sunday evening, per the team’s official website. “I don’t like that we’ve got so many [this year] as I’m standing here tonight.”
Things such as Garrett’s insatiable urge to deflect with comically-vanilla coach-speak at the worst possible moments, subtly smearing fresh salt in a years-old wound?
“Unfortunately, we didn’t win the ball game,” he said, per The Athletic. “Obviously they are a good team. They’ve been a good team for a long time. We didn’t do enough to get the job done.”
Yeah, those things — things that, barring a drastic turnaround, won’t haunt the organization this time next season, for the first time in a decade …
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Former NFL QB Picks Apart Dallas’ Offense
That aforementioned game plan? It fooled exactly nobody, least of all Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the architect of the NFL’s top defense. It also wasn’t lost on former Detroit Lions quarterback-turned-analyst Dan Orlovsky, who drew attention to Garrett and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s uncreative personnel execution.
The Cowboys outgained the Patriots in total yards (321 to 282), averaged more yards per play (5.4 to 4.3), and possessed the ball longer (30:22 to 29:38). Conversely, however, Dallas went just two-of-13 on third-down attempts and was 0-for-2 in the red zone, as star wide receiver Amari Cooper was held catch-less and QB Dak Prescott touchdown-less.
Dez Bryant Slams Cowboys’ Coaching During Game
Prior to the conclusion of the hyped Week 12 tilt, former Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, who still tunes into almost every game, lent his two cents on what ails the silver and blue.
Surprise: Bryant believes, as Jones so emphatically expressed, that Dallas owned the requisite horses to upset New England. But the drop-off from Garrett to Belichick proved too mighty, and ultimately it’s the reason why the Cowboys’ championship hopes are on life support.
“What I see from the game so far…. Dallas has the better players but New England has the better coaches and game plan,” Bryant tweeted.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL