ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jerry Jones still believes the Dallas Cowboys can get in the playoffs. He even mentioned Super Bowl after yet another loss.
Well, the Cowboys (6-6) still lead the NFC East after a 26-15 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving Day. And Jason Garrett is still their coach.
“I’m looking ahead at another ball game. I’m looking ahead at winning four or five straight. Five straight and helping write a story they will talk about, how it looks like you were down and out, and got it done,” Jones said. “I mean that. That’s the way that I’m operating. Every decision that I make over the next month will be with an eye in mind to get us in the Super Bowl now.”
While obviously still disappointed and emotional — Jones clearly had some tears in his eyes after exiting the locker room from which the muffled shouts of players could be heard — it was a far different mode than when the owner blasted the coaching staff after a 13-9 loss at New England.
After another loss four days later, Jones instead said he wasn’t going to panic and was looking for ways to help the team.
“One of them is not a coaching change. One of them is not reworking the offense or the defense,” he said. “Those aren’t alternatives for us to be ready to play over the next month and give us a chance to be what we want to be.”
Jones believes some games can turn out differently if the Cowboys stay healthy and other teams don’t, “and all of a sudden we start jelling and we start getting some turnovers. ... I like our bet there. I do, even though we haven’t played well the last three games.”
Dallas plays at Chicago next Thursday night, and has games left against the Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia and Washington.
The Cowboys haven’t beaten a team that has a winning record. They are 3-6 since opening the season with three consecutive wins — all over teams that currently have two wins each — in what is the final year of Garrett’s contract.
They are 4-0 against their NFC East rivals — all have losing records. Dallas twice beat the 2-9 New York Giants, and has one win each over the 5-6 Eagles and 2-9 Redskins.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith admitted there were plenty of upset people in the locker room.
“For sure, we understand the type of team that we have and what we’re capable of,” Smith said. “We’ve got to figure it out, it’s crunch time.”
Asked what gives him confidence that his team can win out, Jones responded, “I don’t know that I would inject confidence anywhere in this thing relative to just the hanging on the mathematical chance, but hanging on the fact that that group of people in there, I know at various times over the last several years, I thought they were absolutely, exactly what I wanted to be in the room with as the part of a team. ... Those names haven’t changed.”
After being held to three field goals on a wet, blustery day in New England, the Cowboys returned home and opened the game with a nine-play, 75-yard drive. They led 7-0 on Dak Prescott’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten.
Buffalo (9-3) then scored 26 consecutive points while the Cowboys missed two field goals — including one at the end of the first half that would have made it 13-10. Prescott had two turnovers in the first half, an interception and a fumble.
Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said the team still believes in Garrett and the coaching staff.
“That’s a stupid question, but yes absolutely. I feel like this is a man’s game, it’s not just on the coaching staff,” Lawrence said. “I don’t feel like they did anything to hurt us, we did self-inflict the wounds. It’s really about the offense and defense capitalizing and we didn’t really do that.”
Some fans were heard during the game chanting “Fire Garrett” and others held signs expressing their displeasure. There were a lot of empty seats by time Dallas scored a late touchdown in its fourth Thanksgiving loss by double figures the past six years.
“We know we have tough fans who love and hate us at the same time,” Smith said. “For us we’re going to give it our all and we know what we need to do. We need to go out here and win and find a way.”