Cowboys drop third straight with 24-22 loss to Jets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — There's no panic in the Dallas Cowboys just yet.
They know how things look from the outside, especially after a 24-22 loss to the previously winless New York Jets on Sunday. Their confidence, however, remains unshaken — even during a three-game skid.
"It doesn't change (anything)," defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence insisted. "Not at all. We know what happened today. We beat ourselves, just like last week.
"Now, it's time to buckle down and get back going."
The Cowboys are now 3-3 after starting with three straight wins, and they have a showdown with the NFC East-rival Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday night.
"It's a clean slate," quarterback Dak Prescott said. "We're 0-and-0 right now. We've got a huge game next week. It's for first in our division. We've got to figure out a way to turn this page and focus on that."
The Cowboys haven't lost three in a row since the first three games of running back Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension in 2017.
Slow starts, bad penalties and not enough big plays have downed Dallas the past few weeks, and it was more of the same against New York. They were also forced to play without starting offensive tackles La'el Collins and Tyron Smith, and wide receiver Amari Cooper was sidelined for most of the game after injuring his quadriceps in the first quarter.
"With injuries, without injuries, you can't get in your own way," Prescott said. "That's what we've continuously done. We've got to figure out a way to do that. Great teams don't do that. Right now, we're far from that. We've got to figure it out."
The Jets led 21-9 in the fourth quarter, but Prescott and the top-ranked Cowboys offense stormed back — and had a chance to tie in the wild closing moments.
With Dallas marching down the field, officials called six straight penalties during one stretch including four on the Jets putting the Cowboys in scoring position.
Prescott ran for a 4-yard touchdown with 43 seconds left, making it a two-point game. Going for the tie, Prescott dropped back and was quickly met by a blitzing Jamal Adams and his pass on the conversion try fell short of Jason Witten in the end zone.
"I saw that they brought pressure, one more than we could protect," Prescott said. "All the way across the board, it's 50-50. I wouldn't change what I did right there. Obviously, I'd get the ball up, try to absorb that hit better and make a better throw."
The Cowboys tried an onside kick, but Demaryius Thomas recovered for the Jets (1-4), who won for the first time under coach Adam Gase.
Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, who missed three games while recovering from mononucleosis, finished 23 of 32 for 338 yards — including a 92-yard touchdown toss to Robby Anderson and a 5-yarder to Ryan Griffin.
Darnold came out throwing in his first snap since the season opener and connected with Thomas for a 17-yard gain. Robert Quinn sacked him on the next play and the drive stalled. But, Darnold and the Jets got on the scoreboard on their second drive, capped Le'Veon Bell's 2-yard touchdown run.
Darnold was efficient on the 14-play, 83-yard drive, going 6 of 8 for 43 yards. New York was also helped by three penalties on Dallas, including a horse-collar tackle of Darnold by Maliek Collins on third-and-goal from the 7 that gave the Jets the ball at the 2.
New York finished with 382 yards after getting 233 combined in the last two games with Luke Falk at quarterback.
"It's unacceptable for us to give up that many points," Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith said. "That's not an elite defense."
Prescott was 28 of 40 for 277 yards, and Elliott finished with 105 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. While the final numbers look good — 398 total yards and 26 first downs — it took a while for the Cowboys to get going. They had only 162 yards in the first half with just six first downs while getting two field goals.
"We're putting ourselves behind," Prescott said. "We're putting our defense in a tough spot. We're not playing complementary football. It's simple as that. We've got to start faster. We've got to get points. We've got to get touchdowns and allow our defense to play from up.
"As long we have these slow starts, we're going to struggle."