ARLINGTON, Texas – Way to kick off the New Year, huh? A side of me thought flipping over the calendar might wash away some of the Cowboys' heartache in 2015. At least for this day, it was still a carryover, or hangover, or some kind of over.
Let's just say we're all glad this season is over.
However many words were written about this game, it was too many. That being said, we won't go for too long here in this piece. But we do need to put this season officially in the books, although as far as the Cowboys are concerned, it was over long before this.
Now, I know a lot of fans are happy about the Cowboys not "messing up" their draft pick, which seems like it will be the No. 4 overall pick.
But there's no way any fan can be happy about what they saw here Sunday in the regular-season finale.
Through the majority of these 12 losses, it would be hard to argue the fight this team showed. Aside from a blowout here or there to the Panthers and Patriots, this team has put up quite a battle each week.
For a while, it looked like this might be the exception to this season. Down 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, something this franchise hasn't seen in nearly 50 years, the Cowboys got down by 24 before Kellen Moore and the offense started to get going.
Contrary to what many outsiders who really don't know what they're talking about, this team tried to win this game Sunday. I've seen reports that the Cowboys were tanking this for a draft pick, but that's just completely inaccurate, misinformed and ludicrous. You don't call timeouts at the end of the game to do that, and you don't onside kick and run fake punts.
Yeah, they sat a few players that were borderline injured, but that doesn't mean they tanked the game.
It's one thing to shut down a few banged up players such as Dez Bryant, Morris Claiborne and maybe Sean Lee, who at least tried to play Sunday before the game, but told the coaches he couldn't get his hamstring loose enough to play. That's for anyone who thinks the Cowboys just tried to stick it to Lee and save $2 million in a roster bonus that would've been paid to Lee had he played over 80 percent of the snaps, which he now hasn't.
The Cowboys tried to hang in there, and maybe had Darren McFadden hung onto the ball going into the end zone and Kellen Moore not thrown a fourth-quarter pick at the goal line, the Cowboys could've had a shot.
But even against a majority of backups by the Redskins, this Cowboys' squad still couldn't catch up even when the Redskins were waving the white (NFC EAST CHAMPIONS) flag.
Sunday's game was just like the 2015 season: A good effort, but not nearly good enough results.
Like we've seen all year long, this team will fight hard until the end. To take the boxing analogy even further, this team is like a guy who can jab, land some occasional haymakers and more than anything, has a strong chin. But at the end of the night, just doesn't have the technical boxing skills to win many fights.
This team knows how to fight, just not how to win. Simple as that.
To think that I've covered 16 seasons of the Cowboys, and this one, this 2015-16 campaign, will go down as the worst since I've been here is simply mind-boggling. I'm sorry, but this team could wipe the floor with those 2000 and 2001 teams that finished 5-11.
Yet for some reason, it just never clicked into place.[embeddedad0]
Sure, we think we know a lot of the reasons, and it starts with the quarterback being injured. But good teams certainly aren't this quarterback-dependent. Even the average teams can find a way to win a few games without their starter.
So while the quarterback needs to be addressed at some point – whether it's the draft or free agency or both – the supporting cast definitely needs to improve as well.
I'll take home the "Stating the Obvious" award when I say that this team has a lot of work to do next season.
I'm just glad next season, is finally here.