Jerry Jones warns Cowboys out of playoffs after ‘mass kicking’ loss

the Dallas Cowboys They knew the regular season finale could be meaningful.

They knew they remained in NFC East title contention, playoff games on the field, and improving seeds in play.

They played their starters.

They are still He fumbled in a 26-6 loss To the Washington leaders Team gives rookie quarterback Sam Howell his first start.

All three stages played below expectations. Problems on offense and special teams proved particularly costly.

“We’ve been dealing with this all week,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in the post-game locker room at FedEx Field. And if that doesn’t make you want to be ready to go in 6-7 days, nothing else will.

“It was interesting just like we’ve done this year. We’ll see if that gets you ready or not. We have to.”

The Cowboys finished their season 12-5 for the second year in a row under head coach Mike McCarthy. But when Dallas hired McCarthy to succeed Jason Jarrett, Jones didn’t primarily hope for a coach who could navigate the regular season.

McCarthy has wanted to elevate a team that hasn’t made it back to the NFC Championship, let alone the Super Bowl, since the 1995 season. In 13 seasons as Green Bay Packers Coach, McCarthy was guided Nine playoff appearances including the Super Bowl title.

Winning the staff turnover battle and hitting tempo in December were key to McCarthy’s success in Green Bay. The Cowboys lead the league in takeaways but also 17th in tackles, and Prescott’s 15 interceptions were the most by any quarterback in the league despite missing five games.

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Jerry Jones has been vocal about the Cowboys’ loss to Washington. (Tim Heitman-USA Today Sports)

Dallas hasn’t lost consecutive games this season. But dropping a game of this size receiver Sir Lamb He even admitted that the Cowboys felt “as if we knew we were going to win” exposed flaws in the Cowboys’ current structure.

“It’s disappointing, no doubt,” McCarthy said. “The timing of that isn’t what you’re looking for. I clearly realize that. But it’s like a lot of things in life: When you get kicked in the ass or punched in the mouth, you have a chance to fight back.

“I have great confidence in our football team that we will respond.”

McCarthy’s job security You may depend on it. The Cowboys’ ceiling this year was very high, with offensive blasts that made 40 points look easy and frantic defensive performances that led them to a relatively early acquisition of a postseason berth.

But lately, questions attack the impartial Dallas rush, planning and blocking challenges that stifle the running game and a secondary’s reliability to rise to the occasion despite injuries. Prescott knows he has to play better and change his mind to advance to the Divisional Round.

“It’s a fine line and I have to get better at it,” Prescott said. “Easy like that. This is not going to last.”

Jones, who is also the team’s general manager, said he hopes his Cowboys will use the loss as a catalyst to sharpen their focus and hone their details more clearly before the game. Monday Night Wild Card Game In the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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“We didn’t comfort anyone, so everyone had to bite that apple,” he said, feeling a “bite” loss.

The Buccaneers beat the Cowboys 19-3 in their Week 1 opener. They have lost nine games since then.

However: The Bucs will hold home field advantage, facing the quarterback Tom Brady who has played the Cowboys seven times in his career and won seven times.

Danger likely awaits the Cowboys – especially if they play as poorly as they did on Sunday in Washington.

Jones eventually put some of his trademark optimism into his post-match remarks that were otherwise cautionary.

“I have no doubt that as a team, not just individually but as a team Team, “We can go back and take this nightmare, whatever you want to call it, and turn it into a plus,” Jones said. “I’m very disappointed for our fans. But now I’m half as disappointed as if I were sitting here this time next week.

“We have something to go to and we’re going to empty that bucket this week.”

Follow Jori Epstein of Yahoo Sports on Twitter @tweet

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