January 29, 2023

Cowboys must find motivation in ‘Nightmare’ final loss

LANDOVER, MD — The Dallas Cowboys entered Sunday hoping for a second straight division title and a chance to move up to one of the top two seeds in the NFC if things go their way.

They left FedEx Field with their worst loss of the year, 26-6 to leaders Washington, throwing more questions in the mix as to what the season could be like in a wild card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Monday (8:15 p.m.) ET, ESPN/ABC).

“We’ve got to suck that up all week,” said owner and general manager Jerry Jones. “If that doesn’t make you want to get ready to go in about six or seven days, then nothing else will. It’s been uphill as we’ve done it this year, and we’ll see if that gets you ready to go. It has to be with what these guys are made of.” .

The Cowboys’ worst previous loss of the season was a 19-3 defeat in Week 1 against the Buccaneers. The Cowboys will have to do something they’ve never done in order to advance in the playoffs: win. Tom Brady.

He owns a 7-0 record against Dallas, including wins in his last two seasons with Tampa Bay.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that as a team, not just individually, but as a team we can go back and take this nightmare—whatever you want to call it—and turn it into a plus,” Jones said. “I’m glad we had the chance and I’m thrilled we didn’t have to look out there at the Philadelphia-San Francisco game and say, ‘Boy, did we mess up.'”

Had the Eagles and 49ers lost, the Cowboys would have clinched the top seed in the NFC with a win over Washington. But Dallas’ performance against the Chiefs was absolutely terrible.

The special teams contributed two runs in the first quarter on the Dallas side of the field. Even with Washington quarterbacks Sam Howell In the first start of his career, Dallas’ defense was mediocre, allowing 151 rushing yards on 41 attempts and coming up with just one interception.

But the abuse was particularly miserable.

Duck Prescott Career-worst 37.8% of his passes completed (14 of 37) and his 15th interception in 12 games. Prescott’s 15 interceptions led to Houston’s interception Davis Mills for the most in the NFL, despite the fact that Prescott missed five games after thumb surgery. He also caught an interception returned for a touchdown for the third time in the past four games.

“For me, I mean,” Prescott said. “Not to use language, but as simple as that.”

Coach Mike McCarthy was more forgiving.

“There was a lot going on already,” McCarthy said. “It’s not about one person. You can’t look at our attacking performance and blame one person.

The Cowboys only managed 182 yards and converted 4 of their 18 first down opportunities, both of which were season lows. The second-worst performance came in a loss against the Pirates to start the season (244 yards, 3-of-15 third down).

“No, it won’t last,” said Prescott. “Yeah, I mean, it’s easy to go back and look at our group and what we’ve done, especially with this nowhere in those last 16 games. So when you’ve had a performance like that, whatever it is, whatever the reason may be is we have to To look at it individually, take accountability, learn from it, and then understand when the plane goes down, we’re in Tampa.

“We know who they are. We’ve played them twice in the last two years, and it’s going to be a good game.”