The normally-loquacious Jerry Jones was at a loss for words, and running short on time, following the Dallas Cowboys‘ potentially playoff-ruining defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Cowboys owner addressed reporters for only two minutes Sunday evening in the bowels of Lincoln Financial Field, where his team fell to 7-8, blowing a prime opportunity to clinch the NFC East title. The word “disappointed” was uttered countless times regarding the 17-9 stinker.
“When you get yourself technically in a spot to come in to a Philadelphia team that has the players they got even though they have been missing a lot of them, you give yourself a chance to be real disappointed. We are,” Jones said, via ESPN’s Ed Werder.
Fresh off its Week 15 domination of the Rams, facing an injury-racked Eagles club with everything on the line, the Cowboys were outhustled and outcoached essentially from the opening whistle. Stop me if you’ve heard that before.
Once Philly mounted a 10-0 first-quarter advantage, it felt like an inescapable hole. It might as well have been 100-0, because the Cowboys’ body language — an inexplicable lack of intensity — was indicative of a no-show in the biggest game of the year, and perhaps the decade.
The offense, led by injured quarterback Dak Prescott (25/44, 265 yards), couldn’t find the end zone and its rushing attack (54 yards; 47 by Ezekiel Elliott) was grounded. The defense couldn’t contain the likes of Miles Sanders (156 total yards, one touchdown) and Dallas Goedert (team-high nine receptions for 91 yards, TD). The play-calling was flat. Tony Pollard fumbled.
It’s easier to name what went right as opposed to what went wrong. Easier, but no less painful for Jones, who cryptically took just one question from a sea of soundbite-hungry reporters:
What about this game disappointed him the most?
“I thought we could up here and play a better game than we played,” he said, per Werder. “I thought right up until the very end we could come in and make some plays and get it done.”
Dallas is down but not necessarily out. They host the hapless Washington Redskins in Week 17 and can still steal the division with a win and an Eagles loss to the New York Giants.
But it feels as if the final stake already was driven through their collective hearts — and Jason Garrett’s tenure.
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Garrett Discusses Loss, Job Security
A Saturday report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport seemed to confirm that Dallas must reach the NFC Championship Game for Garrett, unsigned beyond 2019, to earn a new contract. That now appears like a pipe dream, thanks to a loss the 53-year-old played a part in and reacted to in classic Garrett fashion.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the job done,” he said, per The Athletic. “We all have to own it. I have to own it. The coaching staff has to own it. All the players and staff members have to own it.”
Next Sunday’s contest may mercifully represent the capper in Garrett’s decade-long reign, barring a Philadelphia collapse. The Clapper had little to offer except for predictable coach-speak as Dallas limps into its season finale.
“The biggest thing we have to do is to try and process this game, learn from it, and move forward,” he said, per The Athletic. “Go and have a great practice on Wednesday and preparation for Sunday.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL