They know they got away with one. They know if it had been anybody but the sorry Chiefs, they may have lost Sunday.
How bad was it?
Consider that the Cowboys were flagged for penalties 13 times for 90 yards. It was the most penalties they've committed since the 2000 season and the 10th most in franchise history.
They missed a field goal when their holder didn't get the laces turned out. They muffed two punts, including one that was a turnover that led to a field goal. They mishandled the center-quarterback exchange, setting up a touchdown.
Yes, the Chiefs were that bad. They couldn't even win a game the Cowboys tried to give them.
Remember, Kansas City has lost 28 of their last 30 games.
Yes, the Cowboys are a long way from being good. They have some work to do during the bye before they return to action against the Falcons.
"I think we've got to look at some things, right some wrongs," linebacker Bradie James said. "That's why we're here. This is our bye week, we won the game, we're here still watching film because there're still a couple things we can improve on, and I think we will."
The Cowboys know they must get better in a hurry if they want to truly make this a successful season.
They are what they are right now, a 3-2 team that is looking up at Philadelphia and New York in the NFC East and the Saints, Falcons, Vikings, Bears and 49ers in the rest of the NFC.
Doing what they did on Sunday won't get it done against real teams.
"We've got to play smarter. You can't shoot yourself in the foot in this league," linebacker Keith Brooking said. "Very good football teams will slap you right upside the head and take the win from you. We have to think about that, we have to be conscious of that."
The Cowboys know they need to be more disciplined and cut down on their penalties. They need work on their two-minute defense red-zone offense. They need to pay more attention to detail and improve their tackling and their techniques in pass rushing and pass blocking.
It is all being emphasized this week during the bye when they are practicing longer and harder.
"Especially this week," coach Wade Phillips said. "We're not playing a game this week, so we're going to work hard on our two-minute defense. We've got to get better in that. It's amazing to me that we play so well on third downs. I mean, that really is your third-down defense. We have been, I think we are one of the top third-down teams. Not to carry it over to two minutes -- we'll keep working on that. That's an area we'll attack.
"Our red-zone offense, certainly we've got to keep working on that. The only way to do it is keep working on it and getting better and better and more confident in each other and what we're doing."
Plenty of work to do
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