Cowboys Look to Make Lemonade From a Lemon
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — My old friend Michael Irvin issued the statement a couple of weeks ago as his beloved Dallas Cowboys were preparing to reel off a win streak that would reach 11 by the time we got to Sunday night in New York.
The Cowboys, “The Playmaker” theorized, might actually benefit by a loss. His logic: A loss would re-ground the team, cause it to re-focus, give it some scar tissue.
Me? Losses are bad. They cost a playoff-bound team seeding position, bye weeks, home-field advantage…
But now Dallas has indeed lost, 10–7 to the Giants. And even if you did not subscribe to Irvin’s theory before… you might as well join Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott in buying into it now.
Why? Because as you deal with the realities of slipping to 11–2, you have no other choice. “I think it’s good for us to get a loss at this time in the season so you can sit back and reevaluate what’s going on,” Elliott said. “We can regroup and get ready to finish the season.”
Fellow rookie Prescott, Zeke’s backfield buddy, is trying to subscribe to the same philosophy. “You never want to say it’s good to lose,” Dak said. “Me as a competitor, I hate to lose. It’s a bad feeling. But …”
Is there really a “But” here? Slipping out of Dallas’ hands in the Big Apple was a chance to get revenge on the only team that had beaten the Cowboys all year and to register a win that would have earned the Cowboys a first-round bye in the playoffs. And wasted was a defensive effort, that might’ve been the Cowboys’ best of the year. How can it be good to say goodbye to all of that?
“It kind of gets you resettled, gets you back right,” said Dak, who was not right at all at this one, with the first two-interception outing of his young career. “After we lost to these guys the first time (in week 1) we went on that run, so maybe we can do something similar.”
There is nothing wrong with a little rosy optimism mixed in with truthful self-evaluation. But better than Irvin’s position, to me, is Sean Lee’s. After this game, the Pro Bowl linebacker told me, “We handled 11 wins in a row the right way. Now we need to show we can handle this the right way.”
That isn’t the sort of test you volunteer for, no matter what Irvin said. But it is the test that Dallas faces now. So we might as well pretend it’s a good thing.