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After Thursday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Dallas Cowboys were forced to confront reality: 6-6.
A chance to fall into a tie with the Eagles atop the ugly NFC East. A possibility of missing the playoffs entirely. And yet another loss to a team above .500.
What wasn’t reality Thursday night into Friday morning was a coaching change. Jason Garrett remains as the Cowboys head coach, despite the team’s lifeless appearance in the second half of its annual Thanksgiving contest. Owner Jerry Jones explained his reasoning to reporters, with tears welling up in his eyes as he leaned on a faint hope of an unexpected turnaround and storybook run to the Super Bowl.
That’s probably the only way Garrett could save his job. But a new arrival, veteran defensive lineman Michael Bennett, doesn’t have much time to dream. The recent addition via trade wants — needs — results now. That’s what spurred his high-volume tirade in the Cowboys‘ locker room after the loss, a rant loud enough to be heard by media members through the closed locker room doors.
“The champions are the people that get remembered,” Bennett said when asked about his message to his teammates, via the Dallas Morning News. “They don’t remember who got the biggest contract. A whole bunch of great players got great contracts, but they don’t get remembered as champions. Champions are the ones who get the gold plates and the jackets and they understand what it takes to win. That’s just a certain mindset. That’s just a certain ability to play tough in adverse moments.”
The Cowboys undoubtedly did not play tough Thursday. Buffalo came into Dallas and won the physical battle on every level of the field, asserting its will while securing its ninth win of the season.
The Bills have clinched a winning season and are likely to be headed to the postseason. The Cowboys cannot say as much. They’re running out of time to change that, though they can benefit from a weak division.
“We’re pissed off,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “We know what type of team we have, and we haven’t put that on the field at all this year. We’re pissed off. … We’re a better team than we’ve been putting on film every Sunday.”