Larger margins? Sure.
Bigger stakes? Yup.
But as for stinging defeats awash in humiliation and hopelessness, Sunday’s pratfall in Washington makes a case for one of the most embarrassing in Dallas Cowboys’ history. Rarely have fans of America’s Team – which is celebrating its 60th anniversary – been so reluctant to admit they are fans of America’s Team.
It wasn’t just that they lost to the rival Washington Football Team, 25-3. It’s that they allowed 200+ rushing yards to the NFL’s second-worst running game. It’s that the only time they reached the end zone was when Dalton Schultz – after whiffing on a block that led to a strip-sack of Andy Dalton – retrieved a fumble and was tackled for a safety. It’s that highly-touted receivers Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb had more drops (3) than catches (0).
But, mostly, it was that not a single Cowboy took up for Dalton after Washington linebacker Jon Bostic almost decapitated him on a cheap shot. As Dalton lay sprawled on the field in pain and in a daze, Lamb retrieved his helmet. But the other Cowboys inexplicably milled about in a sorta huddle, merely waiting for backup Ben DiNucci to bring in the next play doomed for more abject failure.
This isn’t your father’s Cowboys-Washington rivalry, where Roger Staubach fought Diron Talbert and George Allen mocked Tom Landry and Harvey Martin threw a funeral wreath into the visitors’ locker room after a monumental victory.
The rivalry is gone. The names – of the players and even the teams – have changed. But this … this was unacceptable.
The lack of spirit, absence of giveadamn and void of fight is prompting Cowboys fans to secretly root for a COVID spike. Not for sickness and death, mind you, but most certainly for an elongated delay or even cancellation of a 2020 season that essentially ended as soon as it began.
In one of the most dreadful performances in franchise history, the Cowboys were almost scoreless. And, more telling, absolutely spineless.
“We need more belief and more high spirits around this team, and really, more fight,” DeMarcus Lawrence said after the game. “That’s really, I feel like, one of our weaknesses. We need to build a stronger backbone, fight and also make sure that we brought everything possible to come out with a victory.”
The Top 10 Most Humiliating Losses in Cowboys’ History:
10. 11.18.1984 at Bills 14, Cowboys 3 – Uninspired upset loss to 0-11 Buffalo paves the way for missing the playoffs for first time in 10 years.
9. 10.18.70 at Vikings 54, Cowboys 13 – A blocked punt and an interception return launches a Minnesota avalanche that ends in Dallas allowing 50 points for the only time in its 984-game history.
8. 11.7.10 at Packers 45, Cowboys 7 – After watching his team visibly quit on Sunday Night Football, owner Jerry Jones takes the unprecedented move of firing his head coach (Wade Phillips) in the middle of a season.
7. 11.16.70 Cardinals 38, at Cowboys 0 – Six-turnover debacle on Monday Night Football prompts coach Tom Landry to shake up his downtrodden outfit and name Roger Staubach permanent starting quarterback over Craig Morton.
6. 9.10.1989 at Saints 28, Cowboys 0 – After a preseason filled with bluster and hype, Dallas’ new Jones-Jimmy Johnson era kerplunks with only 174 yards and not a sniff of the end zone.
5. 10.25.20 at Washington 25, Cowboys 3 – Coach Mike McCarthy’s non-competitive team taints a storied rivalry by not even having the decency to put up a fight against an abysmal 1-win opponent.
4. 12.28.08 at Eagles 44, Cowboys 6 – A week after closing Texas Stadium by allowing two long, late touchdown runs in a loss to the Ravens, Dallas coughs up two 70+-yard fumble returns and yacks a playoff-berth game in Philly.
3. 9.15.1991 Eagles 24, at Cowboys 0 – Embarrassingly outmanned up front, Dallas is limited to 90 yards, forced into five turnovers and surrenders a record 11 sacks of quarterback Troy Aikman.
2. 11.17.1985 Bears 44, at Cowboys 0 – Chicago’s epic defense returns two Danny White interceptions for touchdowns in sending a resounding message and delivering Dallas its worst shutout loss.
1. 9.8.2002 at Texans 19, Cowboys 10 – Quincy Carter’s offense is confounded and demoralizingly stymied by, for crying out loud, an expansion team.