EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jerry Jones' 77th birthday did not go nearly like he hoped.
Jones watched the Cowboys go full circle Sunday – from 3-0 to 3-3 after a third consecutive loss, 24-22, to the previously winless New York Jets.
Speaking in the MetLife Stadium tunnel, the Cowboys' owner/general manager expressed both disappointment in Sunday's defeat and optimism for the team's long-term outlook, provided they can correct the issues that have contributed to this disappointing stretch.
"Am I thinking that this is what we are going to be or what we can do with our 10 games that we have remaining? No, not at all," Jones said. "I'm going to look at the things we're doing right.
And we'll give a good look at making the adjustments or whatever on the things that haven't gone good here.
"I feel that we'll be better. But I'm disappointed right here."
A third straight loss naturally leads to questions from fans and media about Jason Garrett's job security. But that's not even a consideration in Jones' mind.
He viewed Sunday's loss as an "across the board" matter, not solely on the head coach.
"I haven't even glanced there in my mind about long-term future," Jones said when asked about Garrett. "I'm looking at future as next week against those Eagles. I'm looking next week against our division.
"The big thing I want to say is it's not just him. This is across the board, and that had a lot of input out here tonight to get in that spot. I thought as a team we really stepped up and came back from that spot and got it where we might have had a chance to win it. But we did not play well enough to win tonight."
If there was a silver lining for Jones on Sunday, it's that the Cowboys still remain atop the NFC East with Philadelphia after the Eagles (3-3) lost to the Vikings.
Jones gave credit to Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (23-of-32, 338 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception) for playing well in his return from mononucleosis. He was pleased with the way quarterback Dak Prescott and the team battled back from a 21-3 deficit and nearly tied the game on a failed two-point conversion with seconds to play. He's also optimistic about the team's overall health moving forward.
But, like the last two losses, a slow start proved too much to overcome. That's one area that must be fixed for the Cowboys to contend the rest of the season.
"I hope that someday this season we could be one of the top teams. We're certainly not tonight," Jones said. "But I hope that we can do better than just win our division, although I'll take that right now under this circumstance. But I would hope we could get up there and get a little special positioning in the playoffs."
Not the best birthday. But in Jones' mind, still a lot of football left to play.