Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Sunday, October 6, 2013
Locker Room Buzz: Dallas Cowboys

By Todd Archer

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Observed in the locker room after the Dallas Cowboys' 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos.

A moral victory? It sure sounded like owner and general manager Jerry Jones was making that claim in the locker room after that game.

“You’ll probably see about the quietest dressing room that I’ve ever been involved in,” Jones said. “I’m so proud of these guys. We certainly did do some things that we got to improve on, but in general, if we play football like that … We all know what kind of team Denver is, if we play like that, then we’ll be right there at the end and we’re going to win a lot, if not all the rest of our football games like that. I’m really so proud, because I have such respect for Denver.”

Second-guessing clock management: Jason Garrett had two decisions in the fourth quarter backfire on him and lead to Denver’s game-tying touchdown and game-winning field goal.

Garrett
Garrett
Garrett elected to accept a holding penalty on the Broncos, setting up second-and-goal from the 17 instead of a third-and-goal from the 7 with 3:16 to play. Peyton Manning found Wes Welker covered by linebacker Ernie Sims for a 16-yard completion to the 1, and the Broncos tied the game on the next play.

On the winning drive, Garrett elected to have the defense hold firm on a third-and 1 at the Dallas 2 instead of allowing the Broncos to score. When Knowshon Moreno converted the first down, the Broncos were able to kill the clock for Matt Prater's 28-yard field goal to win it.

“You’re balancing the idea of trying to get a stop there,” Garrett said. “You get stop there, they kick a field goal you give yourself a much better chance to tie the ballgame coming back. If you give them the opportunity to go score a touchdown and kind of give up, you do give yourself a chance to go back and score a touchdown, but again you have no timeouts and all that. You weigh those out. We decided to go try to make a stop. He made it by about an inch.”

Put it on the defense: Peyton Manning is playing better than any quarterback in perhaps the history of the game, but that doesn’t matter to Sean Lee. While the loss will be pinned ultimately on Tony Romo's interception, Lee wasn’t having that either.

“You have to give the (Cowboys) offense an unbelievable amount of credit,” Lee said. “They scored 48 points. The fact that we weren’t able to win when the offense scored 48 points is absolutely unacceptable. We have to find a way to be a better defense. Right now we’re not a good defense. Two weeks in a row we’ve given up way too many points and way too many yards.”