Cow­boys drop third straight with 24-22 loss

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS -

EAST RUTHER­FORD, N.J. — There’s no panic in the Dal­las Cow­boys just yet.

They know how things look from the out­side, es­pe­cially af­ter a 24-22 loss to the pre­vi­ously win­less New York Jets on Sun­day. Their con­fi­dence, how­ever, re­mains un­shaken — even dur­ing a three-game skid.

“It doesn’t change (any­thing),” de­fen­sive end Demar­cus Lawrence in­sisted. “Not at all. We know what hap­pened to­day. We beat our­selves, just like last week.

“Now, it’s time to buckle down and get back go­ing.”

The Cow­boys are now 3-3 af­ter start­ing with three straight wins, and they have a show­down with the NFC East-ri­val Philadel­phia Ea­gles next Sun­day night.

“It’s a clean slate,” quar­ter­back Dak Prescott said.

“We’re 0-and-0 right now. We’ve got a huge game next week. It’s for first in our di­vi­sion. We’ve got to fig­ure out a way to turn this page and fo­cus on that.”

The Cow­boys haven’t lost three in a row since the first three games of run­ning back Ezekiel El­liott’s six-game sus­pen­sion in 2017.

Slow starts, bad penal­ties and not enough big plays have downed Dal­las the past few weeks, and it was more of the same against New York. They were also forced to play with­out start­ing of­fen­sive tack­les La’el

Collins and Ty­ron Smith, and wide re­ceiver Amari Cooper was side­lined for most of the game af­ter in­jur­ing his quadri­ceps in the first quar­ter.

“With in­juries, with­out in­juries, you can’t get in your own way,” Prescott said. “That’s what we’ve con­tin­u­ously done. We’ve got to fig­ure out a way to do that. Great teams don’t do that. Right now, we’re far from that. We’ve got to fig­ure it out.”

The Jets led 21-9 in the fourth quar­ter, but Prescott and the top-ranked Cow­boys of­fense stormed back — and had a chance to tie in the wild clos­ing mo­ments.

With Dal­las march­ing down the field, of­fi­cials

called six straight penal­ties dur­ing one stretch in­clud­ing four on the Jets putting the Cow­boys in scor­ing po­si­tion.

Prescott ran for a 4-yard touch­down with 43 sec­onds left, mak­ing it a two-point game. Go­ing for the tie, Prescott dropped back and was quickly met by a blitz­ing Ja­mal Adams and his pass on the con­ver­sion try fell short of Ja­son Wit­ten in the end zone.

“I saw that they brought pres­sure, one more than we could pro­tect,” Prescott said. “All the way across the board, it’s 50-50. I wouldn’t change what I did right there. Ob­vi­ously, I’d get the ball up, try to ab­sorb that hit bet­ter and make a bet­ter throw.”

The Cow­boys tried an on­side kick, but De­mary­ius Thomas re­cov­ered for the Jets (1-4), who won for the first time un­der coach Adam Gase.

Jets quar­ter­back Sam Darnold, who missed three games while re­cov­er­ing from mononu­cle­o­sis, fin­ished 23 of 32 for 338 yards — in­clud­ing a 92-yard touch­down toss to Robby An­der­son and a 5-yarder to Ryan Grif­fin.

Darnold came out throw­ing in his first snap since the sea­son opener and con­nected with Thomas for a 17-yard gain. Robert Quinn sacked him on the next play and the drive stalled. But, Darnold and the Jets got on the score­board on their sec­ond

drive, capped Le’veon Bell’s 2-yard touch­down run.

Darnold was ef­fi­cient on the 14-play, 83-yard drive, go­ing 6 of 8 for 43 yards. New York was also helped by three penal­ties on Dal­las, in­clud­ing a horse-col­lar tackle of Darnold by Maliek Collins on third-and-goal from the 7 that gave the Jets the ball at the 2.

New York fin­ished with 382 yards af­ter get­ting 233 com­bined in the last two games with Luke Falk at quar­ter­back.

“It’s un­ac­cept­able for us to give up that many points,” Cow­boys line­backer Jay­lon Smith said. “That’s not an elite de­fense.”

Prescott was 28 of 40 for 277 yards, and El­liott

fin­ished with 105 yards and a touch­down on 28 car­ries. While the fi­nal num­bers look good — 398 to­tal yards and 26 first downs — it took a while for the Cow­boys to get go­ing. They had only

162 yards in the first half with just six first downs while get­ting two field goals.

“We’re putting our­selves be­hind,” Prescott said. “We’re putting our de­fense in a tough spot. We’re not play­ing com­ple­men­tary foot­ball. It’s sim­ple as that. We’ve got to start faster. We’ve got to get points. We’ve got to get touch­downs and al­low our de­fense to play from up.

“As long we have these slow starts, we’re go­ing to strug­gle.”


Dal­las Cow­boys quar­ter­back Dak Prescott, cen­ter, re­acts af­ter not com­plet­ing a two-point con­ver­sion dur­ing the sec­ond half Sun­day, in East Ruther­ford, N.J. The Jets de­feated the Cow­boys 24-22.

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