ARLINGTON - In the span of a week, Jerry Jones has elevated from “low as a crippled cricket’s ass’’ to “daydreaming’’ about Cowboys greatness to now, swearing that Sunday’s 39-28 home loss to Atlanta won’t serve as a psychological anchor for his temporarily shorthanded club.
“I don’t think that’s a concern,’’ Jerry told me following a loss that included two different 14-point leads for Dallas but did not include a host of Cowboys standouts including Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. “I’m not at all concerns about how our guys handle things psychologically.’'
If that’s true, than all that is left is how they handle things physically. And on Sunday, that didn’t go very well, either.
Going into the game, Jones acknowledged that injuries to Bryant, Romo, guard Ron Leary, defensive lineman Jeremy Mincey and pass-rusher Randy Gregory as well as suspensions still being served by star-quality defenders Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain represented challenges.
"We have to figure out ways to excel and win and when we do, it should be inspirational,'’ the owner said, looking on the brightest of sides.
At 2-0, the Cowboys could be justified in feeling that way — even though you’ll recall Jones admitting that last week in Philly, before Romo broke his collarbone and before Dallas held on for a key win, he felt “as low as a crippled cricket’s ass.’'
Country colloquialisms are always fun for the winners. They grow old fast, though, when Falcons Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are connecting for two touchdowns, when Atlanta backup runner Devonta Freeman bulls downhill for141 yards and three scores, when Julio Jones catches 12 passes for 164 yards and two scores, and when Dallas’ running game - good for 131 first-half yards featuring Joe Randle’s 92 yards and three TDs — evaporates into a memory in an awful second half.
“We fought through a lot of adversity,’’ Randle told me when I cited all the Cowboys injuries, “but we came up short.’'
Defensive leader Sean Lee told a harder truth.
“Bad performance, starting with me,’’ Lee told me. “We fell apart.’'
They did so against a sound 3-0 Falcons team with lots of weapons … and dropped to 2-1 themselves in large part because of all this weaponry in street clothes. They’ll move forward with Brandon Weeden continuing at QB, hoping to repeat some of the solid things he did here while also trying to bust his personal nine-game losing skid as an NFL starter.
And they will let themselves dream … of having another shot at a Mo Claiborne interception he should’ve had, of getting a mulligan on a costly end-of-first-half Weeden pick, of managing the clock to better stall Atlanta’s comeback.
“I’m the greatest daydreamer there is,’’ Jerry Jones likes to day, and maybe some dreaming is OK after this harsh dose of reality.