SAN DIEGO – It was a different venue, but the end result felt awfully familiar to Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones.
The Cowboys played well on the road against an AFC West opponent and took a lead into halftime, only for it to crumble in a disjointed second half. For Jones, it was much like Dallas’ Week 2 loss to the Chiefs.
“It was very similar to Kansas City,” he said. “We make some stops, we get to a point where we’ve got some critical plays, and we don’t make them.”
Much will be made of the Cowboys’ defensive struggles at Qualcomm Stadium, and rightfully so. The defense surrendered 506 yards of offense and allowed Phillip Rivers to complete 83 percent of his passes. Jones pointed out that the Cowboys’ own attack, which was out-of-sync throughout the second half, played a role in that.
“I’m just disappointed that one begets the other. Obviously, they were on the field too long,” Jones said. “We didn’t get enough finish to our drives offensively, and all of that swings that possession time around like it ended up.”
The loss dropped the Cowboys to 2-2 on the year, a record Jones is quite familiar with by now. Four times in the last five years – 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 – the Cowboys have been 2-1 heading into Week 4 of the season. In all four of those instances, the team has dropped to 2-2.
Despite that stat, Jones said he looks at each season separately from the ones before it.
“I don’t know – I just look at it completely within the context of this year. We’re playing these games by the year. This is -- again, I think – different circumstances,” Jones said. “We’ve played two AFC teams. Both of them had some sound quarterbacking – they played well. Rivers played to his reputation out there today – we couldn’t defense him. They balanced it up really good, and we paid the consequences.”
He added: “It was unsuspected, but they did outplay us without a doubt.”
Jones spoke mostly about the lopsided second half, in which the Chargers outscored the Cowboys, 17-0. In talking about “crucial” moments in the game, though, Jones targeted the tail end of the first half, when San Diego drove the field to cut an 11-point deficit into a one-score game.
“I thought that was a critical time for us right before the half, when they came down and got the field goal after we went up there and got 10 up,” he said. “That, I think, impacted momentum right before the half. You’d like to be able to make those stops.”