But Jones did not fire Garrett, his 10th-year head coach, afterward. Instead, he said that he will stick with Garrett and hope that the Cowboys can turn things around and still end up in the Super Bowl.
“I’ve been told all my life adversity gives you an opportunity to really write a hell of a story about how to come back,” Jones told reporters after the game at AT&T Stadium.
He had tears in his eyes as he began a postgame meeting with the media that lasted for close to a half-hour. Jones said he’d been “in a very emotional locker room with a lot of other guys that are emotional.” There was “zero chance,” Jones said, that the Cowboys would immediately fix their problems without Garrett being kept as the coach. He said it was “not the time” to contemplate and discuss Garrett’s job security.
“The way that I’m going to handle this is encourage everybody to basically look to the possibility of winning out and end up doing something that people will write about 30 years from now, and being a part of that,” Jones said. “I like that story tonight as I eat my turkey better than having to choke with it going down.”
A promising start Thursday for the Cowboys, with quarterback Dak Prescott throwing an opening-drive touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten, gave way to a run of 26 straight points by the Bills. The Cowboys’ record dropped to 6-6, and their lead over the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East was reduced to a half-game. They do not have a victory this season over a team that currently has a winning record.
“Obviously we didn’t get the job done,” Garrett said at his postgame news conference. “They’re a good football team and we didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game.”
Prescott described the scene in the Cowboys’ postgame locker room as “just an exchange of words about us sticking together. Anything and everything outside of that locker room doesn’t matter. It’s as simple as that.”
The quarterback expressed “100 percent” conviction during his postgame news conference that the Cowboys’ season still can be salvaged.
“No belief has been lost,” Prescott said. “No confidence has been lost. This is simply execution and it’s on players. That’s kind of what that conversation was.”
Jones had said following Sunday’s defeat at New England that the Cowboys had lost because of the fundamentals of coaching and football. He doubled down on his comments during the week. Garrett was aggressive Thursday. The Cowboys converted on fourth down and less than a yard from their own 19-yard line in the first half. They failed on fourth and goal from the Buffalo 6-yard line late in the third quarter on a Prescott incompletion. They came up empty on fourth and four from the Bills 22-yard line with less than six minutes remaining.
Prescott’s second touchdown pass of the game, a 15-yarder to wide receiver Ventell Bryant with just more than four minutes left, amounted to far too little, far too late in a frustrating day for the Cowboys. Prescott committed two turnovers, throwing an interception and losing a fumble. Kicker Brett Maher missed two field goal attempts. Wideout Amari Cooper left the field in the fourth quarter after taking a hit on his left knee following a catch, though he returned to the game.
Quarterback Josh Allen threw for one touchdown and ran for another for the Bills, who upped their record to 9-3 and clinched only their fourth winning season in the last 20 years. Buffalo also scored on a first-half trick play on which wide receiver John Brown threw a touchdown pass to running back Devin Singletary.
“I love our team,” Allen said, “and I love what we’ve got going on right now.”
The Cowboys wish they could say the same thing.
“If I had thought that calling somebody out or going in there and giving them a Knute Rockne talk would have made any difference as to how we executed and how we’d do, then I’d bottle that and sell it to a lot of different places,” Jones said. “That’s not the way this thing works. That’s not how it works at all …. I’ve been with Jason in a lot of ups and downs …. What I’m doing is realistically saying that these guys have a makeup that we can start right now and win these games one by one and get where we might want to go. I agree it’s outside.” (FINAL: Bills 26, Cowboys 15)
Live updates and highlights can be found below.
November 28, 2019 at 7:34 PM EST
Cowboys get TD
The Cowboys ended with the Bills’ run of 26 straight points with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to wide receiver Ventell Bryant. They added a two-point conversion. (Bills 26, Cowboys 15 with 4:01 left in the 4th quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 7:27 PM EST
Another failed fourth down for Cowboys
It was another failed fourth down for the Cowboys. Dak Prescott fumbled on a sack on a fourth-and-four attempt from the Buffalo 22-yard line. The Cowboys recovered the football but turned the ball over on downs. (Bills 26, Cowboys 7 with 5:48 left in the 4th quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 7:12 PM EST
Bills add to lead
Buffalo added to its lead with a 26-yard field goal by kicker Stephen Hauschka. That made it 26 straight points for the Bills. They took more than seven minutes off the clock on this drive. (Bills 26, Cowboys 7 with 8:20 left in the 4th quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 7:01 PM EST
Cowboys fail on fourth down
The Cowboys failed on a fourth-and-goal try from the Buffalo 6-yard line when Dak Prescott threw an incompletion on a swing pass toward tailback Ezekiel Elliott. Coach Jason Garrett continued to take an aggressive approach in this game but this gamble backfired. Prescott’s third-down pass to wide receiver Michael Gallup was originally ruled a touchdown catch by Gallup in the back of the end zone. But that was overturned on an instant replay review, as Gallup clearly failed to get two feet down in bounds. Earlier on the drive, Prescott delivered a first down with a 10-yard scramble on third and 10, lowering his head to take on a Buffalo tackler at the end of the play and benefiting from a questionable personal foul called on the Bills for a late hit and an additional 15 yards. (Bills 23, Cowboys 7 with 22 seconds left in the 3rd quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 6:45 PM EST
Allen’s TD increases Bills’ lead
The Bills have scored 23 straight points since the Cowboys’ opening-drive touchdown. Quarterback Josh Allen’s 15-yard touchdown run has put Buffalo firmly in control of this game. The Cowboys had better do something — and quickly — or they’re about to be a .500 team. (Bills 23, Cowboys 7 with 3:37 left in the 3rd quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 6:39 PM EST
Maher misses again
Cowboys kicker Brett Maher missed his second field goal try of the game when he pushed a 47-yard attempt wide right. The Cowboys got a 35-yard completion from Dak Prescott to wide receiver Michael Gallup on the drive and reached the Buffalo 25-yard line. But they moved backward from there on a sack and a false-start penalty. (Bills 16, Cowboys 7 with 7:37 left in the 3rd quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 6:32 PM EST
Bills add to lead on ‘doink’ FG
The kicking adventures continued for the Bills’ Stephen Hauschka. But after he missed a field goal and an extra point in the first half, he managed to connect on a 41-yard field goal attempt when the ball deflected off the right upright and through. The Bills added to their lead with a decent drive to begin the second half. The Cowboys helped with a face mask personal foul after a catch by Buffalo’s Cole Beasley. The drive seemed to stall when Josh Allen was sacked on a blitz, but his 10-yard completion to Beasley set up Hauschka’s kick. The Bills have scored 16 straight points since trailing 7-0. (Bills 16, Cowboys 7 with 10:47 left in the 3rd quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 6:11 PM EST
Halftime in Arlington, Tex.
The Cowboys trail the Bills, 13-7, at halftime at AT&T Stadium in a game for which owner Jerry Jones has turned up the heat considerably on his 10th-year coach, Jason Garrett. A very bad second quarter for the Cowboys ended with kicker Brett Maher missing a 35-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the first half. The ball was deflected on Maher’s kick.
The Bills scored a pair of second-quarter touchdowns after the Cowboys took the early lead via an opening-drive touchdown pass from quarterback Dak Prescott to tight end Jason Witten. Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Cole Beasley, a former Cowboy. The Bills converted a fumble by Prescott on a sack into a trick-play touchdown on a pass thrown by wide receiver John Brown to running back Devin Singletary. Buffalo’s lead would have been larger if not for a missed field goal and missed extra point by kicker Stephen Hauschka.
Prescott had a shaky second quarter with two turnovers, throwing an interception and losing the fumble that led to the Buffalo touchdown. He had another interception negated by a penalty on the Buffalo defense.
Jones was critical of his team’s coaching following Sunday’s loss at New England. He doubled down on his comments during the week, then said in a pregame radio interview Thursday he could only hope that what he said would make a difference.
“A dream is that something that I might have looked like or said might have caused us to do something that made a difference,” Jones said in a pregame interview with 105.3 The Fan. “That’s really not the way it works. I’ll tell you that right now.”
Jones called Garrett “a master” during his pregame radio interview and said: “To have the perfect picture, we just have to get him a Super Bowl.”
The Cowboys are seeking their first victory of the season against a team that currently has a winning record. Garrett got the message, beginning the second quarter with an uncharacteristic gamble on which the Cowboys converted on fourth down and less than a yard from their own 19-yard line. Even so, it’s not looking all that promising for them at the game’s midway point. (Bills 13, Cowboys 7 at halftime)
November 28, 2019 at 5:55 PM EST
Bills take lead with trick-play TD
The Bills took the lead late in the first half, converting Dak Prescott’s second turnover into a touchdown via a crazy fourth-down conversion and a trick-play scoring pass. Rookie running back Devin Singletary caught a 28-yard touchdown pass thrown by wide receiver John Brown on the gadget play, on which a reverse became a pass. The Bills took over at the Dallas 39-yard line after recovering a fumble by Prescott on a strip-sack by Ed Oliver. Buffalo converted on fourth and one from the Dallas 30-yard line when quarterback Josh Allen mishandled the snap but picked up the football and fought his way for a first-down run. At the end of all that craziness, the Bills missed the extra point. (Bills 13, Cowboys 7 with 1:52 left in the 2nd quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 5:38 PM EST
Bills miss FG after Prescott throws pick
The Bills failed to convert an interception thrown by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott into any points. They took over at the Dallas 29-yard line but actually went backward, as Josh Allen was sacked on second down, and kicker Stephen Hauschka missed a 50-yard field goal attempt. Prescott threw the interception to Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei on a screen pass gone awry. Prescott was under pressure and apparently trying to throw the ball away. But instead of throwing the ball into the turf, Prescott threw it into the hands of Lotulelei. (Bills 7, Cowboys 7 with 4:25 left in the 2nd quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 5:28 PM EST
Beasley’s TD draws Bills even
The Bills have drawn even on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen to wide receiver Cole Beasley, the former Cowboy. Allen moved out of the pocket to his right and slipped a short pass over the middle to Beasley, who sprinted the rest of the way to the end zone. Rookie running back Devin Singletary had a 26-yard run earlier on the drive. Allen is off to a solid start in this game, with seven completions in nine passing attempts for 82 yards. (Bills 7, Cowboys 7 with 8:01 left in the 2nd quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 5:18 PM EST
Huge gamble by Garrett
Jerry Jones spoke. Jason Garrett listened, apparently. Garrett, put on notice by Jones after the Cowboys’ loss Sunday at New England, left his offense on the field for a huge gamble on fourth down and less than a yard from the Dallas 19-yard line on the opening play of the second quarter. The Cowboys converted on a quarterback sneak by Dak Prescott. But they still ended up punting on the possession. (Cowboys 7, Bills 0 with 11: 47 left in the 2nd quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 4:58 PM EST
Elliott running well
Tailback Ezekiel Elliott is running the ball effectively, with 54 rushing yards on seven first-quarter carries. The Cowboys were pinned at their 5-yard line after a Buffalo punt. They used runs of 13 and 30 yards by Elliott to move into Bills territory. But the drive fizzled and the Cowboys punted, managing to down the ball at the Buffalo 2-yard line. The Bills start from there for their second possession. (Cowboys 7, Bills 0 with 5:09 left in the 1st quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 4:44 PM EST
Quick TD for Cowboys
The Cowboys are off to a good start in a game that owner Jerry Jones seems to really, really want to win. After being held without a touchdown in Sunday’s loss at New England, the Cowboys took the opening kickoff against the Bills and drove to a touchdown, courtesy of an eight-yard pass from Dak Prescott to tight end Jason Witten. Prescott completed all four of his passes for 51 yards on the 75-yard drive. Wide receiver Amari Cooper, held without a catch against the Patriots, had two catches on the drive, including one for 16 yards on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Tailback Ezekiel Elliott went 20 yards with a screen pass. Prescott rolled to his right and found Witten open for the touchdown. (Cowboys 7, Bills 0 with 10:34 left in the 1st quarter)
November 28, 2019 at 4:01 PM EST
Jason Garrett might want to get a win about now
The Dallas Cowboys’ traditional home game on Thanksgiving comes with the stakes raised considerably this year.
“Let me just say this: I think all of us, including the fans, want to win a damn football game, okay?” he told NFL Network on Wednesday. “Now, I know we’ve got a lot of other things to think about: Who’s coaching? Who’s playing? Who’s compared to another player someplace else? How about let’s win some ballgames, folks? We can take that other stuff. I’m not known as a guy who gets hand cramps when I’m writing checks. But I want to win some football games.”
Jones handed out a series of big-money contract extensions before the season to running back Ezekiel Elliott and others. There are potential megadeals to come with quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper. And now Jones wants results. The Cowboys are ranked first in the NFL in total offense and lead the NFC East. But their record is only 6-5 following the loss to the Patriots, in which the Cowboys were held without a touchdown and Cooper didn’t have a catch.
Things won’t be easy against the Bills, who trail the Patriots in the AFC East but are well positioned to secure a wild-card playoff spot in the AFC. They’re ranked third in the league in total defense, scoring defense and pass defense. They’re fifth in the NFL in rushing offense. The issue is whether second-year quarterback Josh Allen can produce if the Bills are forced to throw the ball to win a game. He’s yet to have a 300-yard passing game in the NFL.
November 28, 2019 at 4:00 PM EST
How to watch Bills at Cowboys
When: Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET
Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex.