KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Maybe this won't be remembered as the "Chris Jones Game," but it'd be entirely understandable if that was the case.
The Chiefs' two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman has bounced between end and tackle throughout the season for Kansas City, so it seems fitting then that he gave the entire Cowboys' offensive line fits in a dominant performance.
"At either place, when he gears it up, it's tough to stop," said Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
This was a known problem matchup throughout the week for Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy and his staff. It might not have been specific to Jones, but McCarthy did opt for this week to make a switch at left guard, sliding Connor McGovern in for Connor Williams.
Asked about it afterward, McCarthy said that wasn't the reason for the struggles.
"I don't know much about the change. We had a full week of practice," he said. "We had good prep coming in here. I think the combination, they played well. They had good rush today. They played better run defense than I would have hoped."
With the way Jones played, perhaps it truly wouldn't have mattered. Working all over the line, he tallied five tackles, 3.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, as well as a pass breakup to go with a forced fumble and its subsequent recovery.
Any time a player's statline takes that long to type out, go ahead and assume he had a nice day. And when you remember that one of his sacks came against All-Everything guard Zack Martin, some credit is probably due.
"He's big, long, strong. He's 6'6, 6' 7, and plays with length," Martin said. "He's got good quickness. He's a good player."
Jones was emblematic of a Kansas City defense that gave the Cowboys fits, holding them to just three field goals and forcing them into three turnovers.
As Martin pointed out, it was the type of dominant performance that was good enough to win despite the Cowboys' own defense holding the Chiefs' high-powered offense to an uncharacteristic night of its own.
"I think if you would have told us that our defense held them to 19 points, we would have felt pretty damn good about that," he said. "We've got to do a better job."
The Cowboys will be crossing their fingers that Tyron Smith will be part of their next opportunity to improve. It was revealed Sunday morning that Smith would be absent for a third-straight game, and the offensive line sorely missed his steadying presence on the outside.
While the vast majority of the Chiefs' pressure did come up the middle of the line, there were fewer alleys for him to maneuver through. The Cowboys also didn't hold up well against the run – on the edge or otherwise.
"We had a number of guys that didn't play in the game and that is the NFL," McCarthy said. "That is the course of the season. We all understand the challenges that frankly we have to pick up as we move forward."
It's a blessing and a curse to be faced with what's ahead. The Cowboys don't have long to dwell on the loss, as they host Las Vegas on Thanksgiving in just a few days. On the flip side, there's not a ton of time to correct any issues. And while Smith certainly has a chance to play against the Raiders, this was still a game that saw the Dallas offensive line incur three penalties on top of the five sacks.
Plenty to work on coming from a game with no shortage of coaching points.
"Obviously, we didn't execute good enough," Martin said. "We'll be looking to fix that by Thursday."