ARLINGTON, Texas– Not every season has been memorable during the 27-year tenure of Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones.
In that time span, on the other end of the spectrum from three Super Bowl titles, the franchise has endured eight losing seasons. But not since 1989, Jones' first year in charge, have the Cowboys lost six games in a row – until Sunday night's 33-27 loss to Philadelphia.
"When I first got in the NFL, we won one game our first year," Jones said. "We did lose more than six straight. We had Aikman and others on that roster that year we won one game. But we know we're not talking about the same team here – and no, I didn't expect to lose six games with our roster."
It's been a season full of unexpected developments, certainly headlined by the two-month absence of Tony Romo, among other things. But in the results-driven world of the NFL, it's been 50 days since the Cowboys have found the win column – a feeling Jones equated with that one-win 1989 season.
"It feels like that," he said. "It seems like we can't buy a turnover. We can't seemingly get in position to win games."
Jones is especially right about the turnovers. Sunday night's game ended without the Cowboys forcing a takeaway, which means they have posted a zero in that category in six of eight games. They forced three takeaways during the Week 2 win against the Eagles, and they picked off Russell Wilson on Nov. 1. Their season total of four turnovers is tied with Baltimore for worst in the league.
Conversely, the Eagles lead the NFL with 19 -- highlighted by a fourth quarter pick-six on Sunday night.
Most agonizing of all is that the Cowboys have nearly been in position to win anyway. Sunday's loss was the second walk-off, overtime loss of the season, coupled with the Week 4 loss in New Orleans. As bad as the record might look, the Cowboys have lost four of the six games by seven points or less.
Excluding the admittedly lopsided loss to New England, the average margin of defeat during the losing streak is a mere 6.2 points – a fact that wasn't lost on Jones.
"I'm proud of the way they're competing on both sides of the ball," he said. "They're out there doing it from the standpoint of effort, from the standpoint of passion and their competitiveness. They're going down to the last second and the last play, and they have been for several games."
It's hard to argue with that, but it doesn't change the fact that the Cowboys now boast one of the NFL's worst records. They are now one of seven two-win teams in the league, and that number will drop to six on Monday night when San Diego (2-6) and Chicago (2-5) square off. Only Detroit (1-7) has fewer wins.
For the time being, Jones said there's only one attitude to take to keep the losing from continuing – as it did in 1989.
"The one thing we can do is put our heads down and try to go forward and try to get better over the next few days as we get ready to play Tampa Bay."
He added: "We have a tough game against Tampa Bay," he said. "We understand – we can add and subtract – the job we have ahead of us. I'm proud of the effort our team gave. We just have to figure out a way to get a win."