Jerry Jones' frustration sums up Cowboys' struggles in bad loss against Titans

Yahoo Sports

Marcus Mariota breezed through a group of Dallas Cowboys defenders who gave a half-hearted wave at him as he went by to the end zone. Then ESPN’s cameras found Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Jones wanted to slam the table with his fist. He thought better of that right before he did it, settling for a light slap of the table, but the frustration was clear as his Cowboys fell behind 28-14 to a mediocre Tennessee Titans team. That ended up being the final score, knocking the Cowboys to 3-5.

The Cowboys were buyers at the trading deadline. Sure, the investment of a first-round pick in Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders was for more than just this season. But it was a message that even though his team was 3-4, Jones thought the Cowboys were still alive for a playoff push this season.

That’s tougher to believe now. Their upcoming schedule is brutal. Jones has been patient with coach Jason Garrett, but that can’t last forever. On the broadcast, ESPN said that its football power index gives the Cowboys just a 19.7 percent chance to make the playoffs after the loss. Even that seems high.

It was a bad night for the Cowboys on a national stage.

Tennessee Titans nose tackle Austin Johnson (94) sacks the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott on Monday night. (AP)
Tennessee Titans nose tackle Austin Johnson (94) sacks the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott on Monday night. (AP)

Cowboys squandered many early opportunities

Early on, it was clear that it could be a bad night for Dallas.

The Cowboys started fast and had almost nothing to show for it. The Titans were stumbling all over themselves, but Dallas missed a short field goal and Dak Prescott threw a terrible interception into double coverage in the end zone. It seemed the Cowboys should have been up at least 17-0 early in the game, but in the second quarter the Titans tied the game 7-7.

Once an NFL team misses a ton of opportunities and lets its opponent back in the game, it usually doesn’t turn out well. And it didn’t for the Cowboys.

Dallas’ offense does little in loss

It’s no surprise that Cooper didn’t magically fix all the woes for the Cowboys’ offense. Dallas scored in the first quarter, getting a short field off a Titans turnover. The offense mostly disappeared after that.

There aren’t enough quality targets for Prescott, but Prescott is not taking full advantage of them either. It’s an ugly offense. A lot of the heat will come on Garrett for that. Garrett fired his offensive line coach last week, the first time he has fired an assistant coach during a season. Usually when a coach starts firing assistants and still fails, he’s next to go.

As Mariota had one of his first productive games of the season and the Titans slowly ran away from the Cowboys in a game Dallas probably needed in a tough NFC playoff race, cameras kept finding Jones, who looked more frustrated and angry each time. Jones’ most emphatic moment came after Mariota’s late-game touchdown run. He didn’t slam the table in front of him, though the door might have slammed shut on the Cowboys’ season with a bad loss Monday.

Jones seemed to know it, too.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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