It mattered little on Thursday.
Despite a more aggressive gameplan, the Cowboys struggled through a mistake-laden performance in a dominant 26-15 Buffalo Bills victory in the annual Thanksgiving matinee in Dallas.
While Bills quarterback Josh Allen had a coming out party in front of a national audience, the Cowboys couldn’t get out of their own way in a sloppy game that reflects poorly on the embattled Dallas coach.
About the only good news for Garrett is that team owner Jerry Jones told reporters after the game that no change will be made immediately.
Mistake after Cowboys mistake
The mistakes started early, with a bad Dak Prescott interception to defensive tackle Star Lotulelei in the second quarter.
On the next Dallas possession, Prescott turned the ball over on a strip sack by rookie defensive tackle Ed Oliver.
When Dallas had a chance to cut Buffalo’s 13-7 lead to a field goal at halftime, the Cowboys allowed another blocked kick, this time a tip that knocked Brett Maher’s 35-yard field goal try off line. It was the first of two missed kicks for Maher, who sent a 47-yarder in the third quarter wide right.
Garrett decides to gamble when?
And then there was Garrett’s response to last week’s criticism for his decision to to kick a field goal in the red zone late in the fourth quarter against the Patriots while trailing by seven.
His answer on Thursday was to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Dallas 19-yard-line — in the second quarter of a seven-point game.
The Cowboys got the first down. But focusing on the first-down is playing the result of an irresponsible gamble that was a clear response to the noise he heard for his decisions against New England.
Bills, Allen put on a show
Meanwhile, the Cowboys defense let the Bills put on a show. Buffalo announced to a nation that has been sleeping on it that at 9-3, it is no fluke.
Allen was efficient and effective as a passer, completing 19 of 24 attempts for 231 yards and a touchdown to former Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley, who torched his former team for 110 yards.
Allen got it done with his legs as well, picking up a tough, momentum-shifting fourth-down conversion in the second quarter that led to a trick-play touchdown pass from wide receiver John Brown to running back Devin Singletary.
Allen’s 15-yard touchdown scramble in the third quarter increased Buffalo’s lead to 23-7 and effectively signaled the end of the game. When the day was done he’d tallied 43 yards on the ground.
It all piles on for Garrett
The mistakes can’t all be squarely laid on Garrett, of course. But some of them can. And they continue a troubling trend that’s plagued his Cowboys team since long before Thursday.
With all that, the Cowboys remain in control of the NFC East, dropping to 6-6 with a loss that keeps them a half game ahead of a Philadelphia Eagles team that they’ve already beaten this season in Texas.
But that’s not where this talented Cowboys team and its owner Jerry Jones expected to be 12 games into the season.
Even if it’s true that Garrett’s job is safe for now, it’s going to take a dramatic turnaround for the 10th-year Cowboys coach save it for the long run.
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