In their biggest game this season, the Dallas Cowboys came up the smallest.
The Cowboys delivered a lethal blow to their playoff chances in Sunday’s 17-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles — the de facto NFC East title tilt from Lincoln Financial Field. They had faced a win-and-in scenario following last week’s destruction of the Rams.
Instead, the defeat dropped Dallas to 7-8 and took them out of the driver’s seat in the division, which, at least temporarily, belongs to their green-clad rival.
Things now sit a little differently. An Eagles win in Week 17 over the New York Giants would officially secure the East, eliminating the Cowboys no matter what transpires in their finale against the Washington Redskins.
But a pulse remains, however faint, for the Cowboys: Beating Washington and having New York upset Philadelphia would mean Jason Garrett’s bunch captures the division for the second consecutive year, ensuring them of at least one home postseason contest.
All hope is not lost and all confidence is not shattered. Although the club is getting a standing eight-count, so to speak, they refuse to call the fight.
“Don’t fold. Everybody gonna wanna divide us. Don’t fold. We going out here to play this last game, and we gon’ win this motherf***er,” defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence proclaimed, via WFAA’s Mike Leslie.
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Jerry Jones Holds Ominous Press Conference After Loss
The normally-loquacious Cowboys owner was at a loss for words, and running short on time, following the potentially playoff-ruining defeat to the Eagles.
Jones addressed reporters for only two minutes Sunday evening in the bowels of The Linc. The word “disappointed” was uttered countless times regarding what was an embarrassing effort.
“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.
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.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL