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After Cowboys’ newest crushing playoff loss, Jerry Jones weighs futures of Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy

  • SPORTS

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jerry Jones strolled down the Levi’s Stadium tunnel in his darkish overcoat, a hitch within the 80-year-old’s step and a sniffle in his voice.

But once more, the Dallas Cowboys had superior to the divisional spherical of the NFL playoffs. But once more, the group proprietor and normal supervisor was leaving a stadium questioning if he’ll stay to see his group experience a deep postseason run once more.

Seven instances the Cowboys have superior to the divisional spherical since their final Tremendous Bowl title, 27 years in the past. Seven instances in that span, they’ve misplaced it. Sunday’s 19-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers was simply the newest instance.

“Sickening,” Jones informed a gaggle of media outdoors the visiting locker room, the phrase “sick” recurring six extra instances in a 2-minute span of Jones’ remarks.

Gamers in his locker room had been sick, Jones mentioned, an assertion seemingly confirmed by their tears, towel-covered faces and distant stares.

“A whole bunch of hundreds of Cowboys followers,” Jones continued, had been sick — a sentiment Twitter mentions confirmed in spades.

Head coach Mike McCarthy was sick with disappointment. Cowboys security Jayron Kearse, too, sluggish to depart the sideline bench postgame as he struggled to course of a season immediately snapped, what he felt was a winnable sport assuredly misplaced.

“It hurts,” quarterback Dak Prescott mentioned. “All I can take into consideration proper now could be this sport and the way disenchanted I’m at this level in my play. How disenchanted I’m for the blokes within the locker room who performed their asses off and we weren’t in a position to get it accomplished.”

The clamor surrounding McCarthy and Prescott’s health for his or her respective jobs unsurprisingly grew louder, as Groundhog Day-like disappointment within the divisional spherical resurfaced.

Jones felt it. Till, for just a few moments by the group’s buses, he transcended it.

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy suffered his second straight playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Picture/Godofredo A. Vasquez)

Dak Prescott: ‘I’ve obtained to be higher’

The sport’s ending was “eerie” in its similarity to final season’s playoff loss, Jones informed a handful of reporters as he strode towards the buses. This Cowboys exit got here on the street within the divisional spherical; Final 12 months’s unfolded at dwelling on wild-card weekend.

However for 2 straight years now, the 49ers have eradicated the Cowboys from the playoffs. Every year, the Cowboys regained the ball within the closing jiffy, down a landing and hoping to capitalize on an opportunity to attain.

They did not.

The sport was an old school “slugfest,” the 49ers notching the sport’s preliminary rating on a first-quarter area aim, the Cowboys reaching the top zone to take their lone lead within the second quarter.

At third quarter’s shut, the pair of stingy pass-rush groups had been tied at 9 factors. Then the 49ers rose to the event, whereas the Cowboys faltered.

Jones knew that questions would swirl about his perception in McCarthy and Prescott.

Is his teaching employees maximizing a gifted roster’s potential, managing the sport sufficiently, delivering the required juice to propel this franchise to the playoffs? McCarthy was employed to succeed in? Or did one other familiarly timed exit change Jones’ thoughts about his third-year head coach six days after the group proprietor mentioned he was “bought”?

“No, no, by no means,” Jones mentioned, endorsing McCarthy. However that is very sickening.

The questions had been apparent with Prescott as he threw two extra first-half interceptions, the distinction in a sport through which the Cowboys felt their lone clear benefit was at quarterback vs. seventh-round rookie Brock Purdy.

However with 5:55 to play within the first quarter, Prescott dropped again and squared his physique for a throw. Then he reset his toes and thought of whether or not he had a chance. Receiver Michael Gallup stopped on his tracks, considering Prescott was able to scramble to increase the play and hopefully permit his downfield targets to loosen from defenders. As a substitute, Prescott fired.

Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir jumped for the interception and returned it to the Cowboys’ 21.

“I broke on the route and I actually did not assume he was going to throw it away,” Lenoir mentioned. “I assumed it was about to be the scramble drill, however then once I regarded again, the ball was coming and my hyena senses simply kicked in.”

The Cowboys’ protection stifled San Francisco’s progress, besides the brief area begin arrange a straightforward 26-yard area aim.

The Cowboys’ subsequent giveaway got here within the closing 90 seconds of the second quarter, Prescott aiming to finish a low cross to huge receiver CeeDee Lamb in site visitors. As a substitute, the ball hit cornerback Jimmie Ward’s chest and bounced into the instinctive fingers of linebacker Fred Warner. The 49ers added a go-ahead area aim because the half wrapped to make it 9-6.

“Simply two throws that I am unable to have, you may’t have within the playoffs,” mentioned Prescott, who accomplished the sport 23-of-37 for 206 yards, a landing and two interceptions along with 22 speeding yards on 4 carries. “You’ll be able to’t have them while you’re attempting to beat a group like that. You’ll be able to’t have it on the street. There is not any excuses for that. These two are 100% on me.

“I’ve obtained to be higher. There is not any different option to sugarcoat it.”

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) took the blame for the offense's shortcomings in Sunday's divisional playoff loss to the 49ers.  (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) took the blame for the offense’s shortcomings in Sunday’s divisional playoff loss to the 49ers. (AP Picture/Josie Lepe)

Jones agreed that “turnovers had been going to make the distinction” and in the end “settled the rating” in a matchup between a pair of gifted groups that featured extra talent depth for the house group and a extra skilled quarterback for the guests.

This wasn’t a brand new concern both, for Prescott, who collected a league-worst 15 regular-season picks in simply 12 video games. The tempo was uncharacteristic relative to the quarterback’s first six seasons, his interception fee leaping from 1.7% by way of six years to three.8% in Yr 7.

Some giveaways resembled flukes with the balls, bounces that different quarterbacks would possibly see fall to the bottom seemingly touchdown in opponents’ fingers after a tip, the Cowboys felt. Prescott made no errors in a spectacular wild-card spherical through which he accounted for 5 complete touchdowns in opposition to the Tampa Bay Bucs.

However in some unspecified time in the future, an interception is an interception. Debate who learn or misinterpret the protection or the choice route or the play name, however the result’s no completely different. The next decision-making wanted to mirror that. Prescott knew that and mentioned he’ll study the pattern carefully this offseason. Jones insisted his confidence in his quarterback is “simply as sturdy as ever,” now and “for the longer term.”

Neither the interceptions, nor the sport’s two finals and fruitless drives, modified that.

“I am going to line up there 5 instances with a like scenario and if we have him at quarterback, I am going to take my probabilities,” Jones mentioned. “We’ll come out of right here with one thing good out of this. That is an edge.

“Tonight did not change my thoughts in regards to the edge with him.”

Jerry Jones opens up on Cowboys’ playoff futility

In all, as fireworks illuminated the Santa Clara night time behind him and a not-certainly-sober San Francisco fan screamed “LET’S GOOOOO NIIIINERS” from a ramp overlooking Jones, the group proprietor appeared conflicted.

He was pissed off, disenchanted, sickened by his group’s most up-to-date efficiency. But additionally: He was excited in regards to the Cowboys’ future, assured in his quarterback and head coach, and even perhaps wistful in regards to the many years through which followers see futility however Jones sees a gorgeous journey.

Responding to a query from Yahoo Sports activities about his concern that point is waning on his probability to expertise postseason success with the Cowboys, Jones took a step again. His blue eyes sparkled, his power strengthening.

“I look out at my life at loads of the lacking faces that are not doing something, they’re gone; or the lacking faces which might be doing one thing,” he mentioned, “however they don’t seem to be within the NFL — I am thrilled to have this face within the NFL.

“I am blessed. And I am disenchanted as I might be. However I am by no means taking an opportunity on complaining about getting the prospect to do that. I imply that.”

In a zero-sum sport through which 31 of 32 groups full every season with a loss and diploma of disappointment, Jones did not imply to reduce the ache that he or his gamers or his coaches felt.

However he noticed the elements for a close to playoff run within the stifling protection that restricted the 49ers’ usually potent assault, within the offense that made a handful of performs even after explosive working again Tony Pollard suffered a reported damaged leg and sprained ankle within the second quarter, and even within the particular groups that contributed a takeaway and two area targets regardless of kicker Brett Maher’s newest missed extra-point try (this one was blocked).

“So far as I am involved, the sport simply wasn’t lengthy sufficient, while you take a look at it,” Jones mentioned, referring to the divisional spherical with context that maybe appeared additionally apropos for his advancing age. “I am disenchanted. however [next year]I wish to be proper again right here with the identical hand, the identical alternative, with Dak because the quarterback, and go get it.

“They had been the higher group, however we obtained some good issues taking place. Consequently, tonight they received it. However in my thoughts, I might relatively are available right here with a Dak.”

Observe Yahoo Sports activities’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein

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