Cowboys not quiting

Controversy ensued last year when a reporter questioned whether the Cowboys were winners, a fair line to take considering they hadn't won anything tangible since the 1996 Super Bowl title.

They have just one playoff win, albeit with two division titles in the last four years, since claiming that ring.

The Cowboys are not winners in 2010. At 3-8, they're not playing for much more than pride, unless you are one of the unaffiliated team observers counting draft position.

But the Cowboys are showing under interim coach Jason Garrett that they are no quitters. The season may be lost but the Cowboys are playing with pride and passion; that much was questionable under former coach Wade Phillips.

Dallas, of course, had two straight wins under Garrett. But the fight that remains in the locker room was most evident on Thanksgiving Day in a 30-27 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

Down 17-0 in the first quarter, the Cowboys could have packed it in with a woebegone, grin-and-bear-it second half.

Keep in mind that they quit in a 45-7 loss to the Packers, which is one reason Phillips was fired.

But the Cowboys simply kept playing against the Saints. The loss was avoidable -- a late turnover gave the Saints an escape route -- but Garrett chose to underline the positive.

"It was them demonstrating again what they had done the last couple of weeks and just battle and fight," Garrett said. "We were down 17-0 against a good football team and we battled back. Nobody blinked. They just went back to work. We didn't get it done. But I'm proud of our football team. Guys played with great emotion, passion and enthusiasm. If we continue that we will get some of these victories."

Winning is all that really matters in the bottom line business that is the NFL. But for team whose season has been all but over for weeks now, doing things right, continuing to play hard and showing effort are part of the process.

"We all know it's a wins and losses business," tight Jason Witten said. "It's cutthroat. But along the way when you are in this situation you can look in the mirror and hold your head up high as you walk out of here. To be down 17-0 and you are a 3-7 team to come back that way. There have been times when people have questioned our fight. So that says something. There was a lot of emotion on the sideline. It was a positive atmosphere."

The Cowboys say the experience is something they can build on as they embark on a tough final five games of the season starting Sunday at the Colts.

"I'm proud of how we fought," cornerback Terence Newman said. "If there ever was a moral victory this was one. We can definitely build from this."

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