|Dez Bryant fumbles against the Redskins, his fourth turnover of the year. (US Presswire)|
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has a knack for mounting furious second-half comebacks. The problem: Dallas usually has dug itself into such a hole that said comebacks often fall short. The phenomenon was on display Thanksgiving afternoon after the Redskins jumped out to a 28-3 lead only to watch the Cowboys score 28 points in the final 30 minutes -- and lose, 38-31.
Dallas now sits at 5-6 and is tied for second in the NFC East with Washington. A win would've have put them in great position for the final five weeks of the season; the Giants (6-4) had their annual stumble through November and face the Packers on Sunday night. A loss there would've put the Cowboys one game out of first place.
Instead, it's another opportunity wasted. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones insists that coach Jason Garrett hasn't lost his team, but the bar was set slightly higher than that coming into the season.
"Our expectations were to compete for the playoffs and then whatever else we can get when you get there, compete for," Jones said via ESPNDallas.com. "We know you've got to be playing well when you get there. We've had some setbacks on some injuries, but that's not the difference out here right now at all."
The reality is that the Cowboys could miss the playoffs for the third straight season.
"That would be real difficult right now because you would have to point to things like comebacks, and that's hollow when you are not winning the game," Jones continued. "Or last week, we win one [against the Browns] and we have to come back to win it, but we don't win it playing well. So that's hollow right now."
Garrett, meanwhile, offered his typically understated post-game explanation for the Cowboys' latest setback.
"We'd like to win more football games, like any coach would tell you," he said. "What you have to do is you have to focus on how we do things and, ultimately, if you do things well with the right kind of people, we feel like we're going to get the results that we all want. So we'll continue to battle hard and work hard and try to win games each and every week and try to play better in all three phases. We'll continue to do that."
Hardly inspiring, but Garrett's words do have some truth to them -- especially the part about having the "right kind of people." Speculation has Mike Holmgren and Sean Payton as possible Cowboys coaching candidates, but Jones wasn't interested in addressing the rumors Thursday.
"Yeah, I expect success," the owner said when asked if all the losing might force him to make a change in the offseason. "Now, I don't have any implied or anything that I've said, 'Success, a level of success, or else.' I'm not going there and haven't -- and haven't gone there in my mind. I expected to come in here and win today. And I expected to win again and to win again. Under those circumstances, you don't have to think about those things."
Things don't get any easier for Dallas. Their final five regular-season games: Eagles, at Bengals, Steelers, Saints, at Redskins.
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