The Dallas Cowboys ended the regular season laying a rotten egg Sunday in a 26-6 loss to the Washington Commanders.
Entering the game with a chance to win the division if the Philadelphia Eagles stumbled against the New York Giants, Dallas made the discussion moot by playing four quarters of uninspired football.
"We get to suck on that all week," owner Jerry Jones said, via ESPN. "If that doesn't make you want to get ready to go in about six, seven days, nothing else will. That was as thorough a butt-kicking as we've had this year, and we're going to find out if that'll get you ready or not. It should with what these guys are made of."
The Cowboys' offense was a malaise of disorder and dismal play. Quarterback Dak Prescott misfired over and over and over again, completing a career-low 37.8% of his passes and threw a pick-six, his 15th interception in 12 games, tied for the league lead. There was no run game. Wideouts rarely gained separation.
Prescott succinctly summarized his play:
"For me, I mean, s---ty," Prescott said. "Not to use the language, but simple as that."
The only solace for Cowboys fans is that maybe the awful performance snaps Dallas out of a funk as they prepare to face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Wild Card Round next Monday night.
"There's no doubt in my mind that as a team, not just individually, but as a team, we can come back and take this nightmare -- whatever you want to call it -- and turn it into a plus," Jones said. "I'm thrilled that we've got the opportunity, and I'm thrilled that we didn't have to look over there at the Philadelphia game and the San Francisco game and say, 'Boy, did we mess up.'"
The awful performance, despite playing starters for all but five minutes of the fourth quarter, ratchets up the heat on Mike McCarthy. We'd already been suggesting a playoff win was necessary for the coach to keep his job in 2023. After Sunday's performance, that thought process doubles. If the Cowboys stumble in Tampa and look anything like they did in Week 18, McCarthy likely won't get a fourth season in Dallas.