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Next day thoughts: Dallas Cowboys fall short in Buffalo, but hope is hardly lost on season

Contrary to popular belief the season is not over for the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys were never close to competing with the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Not for one second. Buffalo embarrassed the Cowboys in every conceivable way and proved to be the hungrier, more desperate team. Right now it is hard to argue that they also proved to be the better team.

All told Sunday was an interesting day to be a Cowboys fan because shortly before Sunday’s shellacking began, the Cowboys officially clinched a spot in the playoffs. Despite the way that the game in question went, every single Bills fan would trade spots with us right here and right now because they are still on the outside looking in.

Yes, the Cowboys were embarrassed and there is a lot to work on, but the sun rose and is guaranteed to do so for them at the very least into the first week of the postseason. Our purpose here today is not to stick our heads in the sand like an ostrich and pretend that what happened on Sunday does not exist, but to acknowledge that it serves as a learning opportunity for the all-important tournament.

Sunday was awful, but let’s not act like the Dallas Cowboys season is over

The last time that Dallas lost a game prior to Sunday saw them respond in resounding fashion by winning five consecutive contests (and then Buffalo happened). This isn’t to say that Dallas is destined to win five in a row, but it is a reminder that generally speaking this is a group that responds well to being force-fed humble pie.

Consider that since 2021 the Cowboys have only lost two games in a row twice (the Sunday before and Thanksgiving Day in that 2021 season). Dallas is a two-point underdog this week so they will have to pull off an upset to avoid consecutive defeats, but you get the point in that they generally know how to flush a poor performance.

Questions still linger about whether or not the Cowboys can win on the road or properly face off against top-tier teams, but they get another opportunity to do that in the aforementioned game this week against Miami.

What was troubling about Sunday was that it proved how mortal this team can be when teams really know how to press against them and obviously in the playoffs there are teams who are very good at doing just that; however, the Cowboys are not bad at that act themselves.

This loss is going to sit with us for a bit, and be fodder for people who believe these Cowboys are the same ones that we have seen over and over and over again. They might very well be those Cowboys, but the important thing to note is that they are already guaranteed an opportunity - an actual one, not a Week 15 game that feels like one - to prove that they are not.

Nobody is going to celebrate a guaranteed playoff berth in the face of the mess that was Sunday, Dak Prescott echoed that sentiment himself, but proper perspective should be had as we begin to move on from all of the yards that James Cook racked up against Dallas.

Three weeks remain for the Cowboys to tinker and toy with areas that need significant improvement before the safety net underneath their high-wire act is pulled and the lights go on for real. It is possible and/or likely that they will have an opportunity in Week 18 to even rest players should they see fit as they line everything up in orderly fashion.

It always felt unlikely that Dallas was going to run the table and win out which by no means excuses the way that they played on Sunday. But this season was always about getting to January and proving the difference of who they are then, getting humbled and humiliated along the way is sometimes an unfortunate part of the process.

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