FRISCO, Texas – It's an interesting dichotomy, this 2019 Cowboys season.
On one hand, the Cowboys (6-5) sit atop the NFC East by a full game over the Philadelphia Eagles with five games to play, fully in control of their own postseason destiny.
On the other, with five games left, the general opinion inside and outside the locker room is they haven't played their best football yet.
Through one prism, Sunday's 13-9 loss to the defending champion Patriots showed once again the Cowboys can hang with the NFL's best.
It also was their fourth loss by a touchdown or less. They're now 0-4 in those games and 0-4 against teams that currently have a winning record.
And Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones' critical comments after the game regarding coaching, particularly special teams mistakes against the Patriots, have made headlines this week.
Asked about Jones' comments Tuesday, the players shared the responsibility of trying to get the season righted.
"I know what his expectations are and I think everyone in this locker room knows what his expectations are of this team," tight end Jason Witten said. "I think the coaching staff does the same way.
"I think we're all frustrated. I think we have to realize where we're at and get it fixed. It's not ideal or how you'd draw it up. But there's an old saying, you are what your record says you are. There's a lot of truth in that."
Said guard Zack Martin: "We're the players. This thing goes all the way around. We've got to do a better job executing."
If there's a silver lining to Sunday's loss, the Cowboys don't have any time to dwell on it. The Buffalo Bills come to AT&T Stadium in two days with an 8-3 record and a chance to make the playoffs for the second time in three years.xThe urgency is there.
"Every week is important to go get a win," running back Ezekiel Elliott said. "But we're definitely to the point where it's crunch time and we've got to string some games together so we can get on a roll into the playoffs."