He said he had to force himself to see the good things that happened in the game, namely that they scored two touchdowns and a field goal on their only three trips in the red zone. The offensive line provided good protection for quarterback Vinny Testaverde. And the defense, particularly the pass rush and the much-maligned secondary, was vastly improved following the season-opening debacle against the Vikings.
And there's also the small fact that the Cowboys came out on top.
Parcells, however, can't help that he remains exasperated by a bunch negatives, including four turnovers, 11 penalties for 120 yards, an overall inability to finish drives on offense and the team's failure to put the game away.
The latter is what disappointed him the most on Sunday. He cited two fourth quarter drives in which the Cowboys got the ball at the Cleveland 43 and 38 yard lines but were unable to increase their 17-9 lead.
"Those are game-on-the-line deals right there," Parcells said. "You got a chance to finish the job, put the team away and/or make it very difficult for them to win. It gets the spread between you far enough that they are an all-pass team. We didn't do that. That is the most disappointing thing to me."
All totaled, Parcells said the Cowboys, who amassed 441 yards, should have scored at least 17 more points in the game. The Cowboys didn't because of the penalties and turnovers, which included three interceptions by quarterback Vinny Testaverde and a fumble by running back Julius Jones.
That's not even including the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on receiver Keyshawn Johnson that took away a first down a chance at a touchdown, while forcing the Cowboys to settle for a field goal.
"Well, you do things like we're doing them, where you turn the ball over and you get penalties, you're going to have trouble finishing drives," Parcells said. "And until that stops, it's not going to change. That's what we have to do. We have to get that better off. It's very difficult to win under those circumstances. These are the things that are most exasperating to me, those kinds of things."
If you can read lips, then you probably saw Parcells say some harsh things to quarterback Vinny Testaverde following his third interception on Sunday.
While Parcells stands by his actions and feelings towards Testaverde's miscues, he said 18-year veteran was also one of the reasons the Cowboys won the game.
Parcells displayed confidence in Testaverde, even after the interceptions, by calling a 37-yard pass to receiver Terry Glenn right before the two-minute warning in an attempt to ice the game.
"I don't know what I said to him. I didn't call him stupid. I said, "That was stupid," said Parcells in a toned down version, minus the expletive. "Look, the second half was not good for him. He knows it. I know it. But at the end of the day he made the play we needed to make to win the game. He made it."
Parcells Wants More Than Sloppy
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