Cowboys win playoff spot despite OT loss to Jaguars
JACKSONVILLE — The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-34 in overtime on Sunday but still secured a playoff berth later in the day after the Washington Commanders lost 20-12 at home to the New York Giants had.
The result means Dallas will be in the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07 in consecutive years, and it’s the first time the team has had the same coach (Mike McCarthy) leading them in the postseason back-to-back years since 1998-99 (Chan Gailey).
However, the loss to the Jaguars makes the chances of a win at NFC East all the more difficult as the 13-1 Philadelphia Eagles now have to lose their final three games of the regular season.
“This is about postseason momentum now,” said quarterback Dak Prescott. “Sure we lost but there was a lot of good in that game too so it’s about just pushing further forward and understanding the men that we have in that dressing room and understanding what we’ve come up to this one and done the foundation that we laid and just keep trying to grow and get out of those mistakes.
“Whether it’s my interceptions or whatever it is, eliminate the bad ones, build on the good ones and create momentum for the postseason.”
Sunday marked the start of the Cowboys’ second three games in 12 days this season. They opened the first with an overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers and then beat the Minnesota Vikings and Giants.
After playing the Eagles on Christmas Eve, the Cowboys play the Tennessee Titans on December 29th.
“I’m disappointed but in the same breath we have a crazy schedule here. Not crazy, but different than what we’re dealing with,” McCarthy said. “We’re going to watch it here on the buses and on the plane, and when we land we’ll have to turn the page.”
There are many things to correct when losing for the first time by a 17-point lead with Prescott at quarterback (30-1).
Prescott was picked up twice, including in overtime when safety returned the interception to Rayshawn Jenkins for a game-winning touchdown. Prescott has 11 interceptions in nine starts this season. Last year he had 10 interceptions in 596 pass attempts. His 11 picks this season, including eight in his last six games and at least one in four straight, came from 281 pass attempts.
“I take every loss seriously,” Prescott said. “I think that’s my job as a quarterback to put us in positions to win and take out the mistakes and the potential chances so they can score after turnovers. That’s the frustrating part. Whether it’s a tipped ball, whether it’s an unlucky interception, whatever it is, they all suck. And at the end of the day, I have to do a better job, and that’s where it is.
The Cowboys’ defense gave up a season-high 34 points, recorded just one sack and lost leading tackle Leighton Vander Esch to a neck injury in the first quarter. Jacksonville rushed for 192 yards with 27 carries, and Trevor Lawrence threw four touchdown passes: three to Zay Jones, whose father Robert Jones was a linebacker on the Cowboys’ Super Bowl teams in the 1990s.
“I’m not going to sit here and make excuses. I’m just saying we need to get better,” said linebacker Micah Parsons. “No apologies mentality. We need to get our f-ups in order and just go from there.”
It’s next week against the Eagles.
“We understand the kind of pressures we put ourselves in, and you know we’re learning from that and getting better,” DeMarcus Lawrence said at the end of the defense. “I’ve got three more regular-season games to play. We just have to make sure we win them all.”