FRISCO, TX — If it were up to Jayron Kearse, the Dallas Cowboys would've been back on the field only one day after suffering a humiliating defeat to the San Francisco 49ers, because he can't wait to find some Listerine to rinse cleanse the the team's palate.
But their first shot at doing so won't arrive until next Monday evening, when they face the Los Angeles Chargers. They're already back to work in Dallas, and there is no shortage of determination to get back to form, especially defensively.
"Flushing this game down the drain, getting in the [meetings] and watching to see what went wrong and then it's on to the next," said Kearse on Wednesday. " … The same way I feel right now is the same way I felt walking off of that field [in Santa Clara]. They beat us. They beat us bad, but that's one game and we're on to the next.
"We're out here right now trying to work and earn the right over the next 12 games to meet them again in the playoffs."
The unit allowed a league-low 10.3 points per game before the 49ers hung 42 points on the scoreboard, moving that number to 16.6 points per game allowed — seventh in the NFL.
"We're a great defense," said Kearse. "That's what we are. And if you really break it down and put it into perspective, you watch great shooters in basketball go out there and have rough games, and that's no different than us. They had our number.
"They beat us bad — speaking on the defensive side — and that's all it was."
As Kearse rightfully points out, nobody sits atop the throne, any throne, in October.
"We weren't crowned the best defense in the league when we had a 40-0 win against the Giants, and we're not gonna be named the worst defense in the league after what went on Sunday," he said. "We're gonna continue to work and continue to get better. We know what we are. … We're gonna be successful. We just have to keep working."
And, with that, it's on the Chargers and former Cowboys' offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who is exceedingly familiar with Dallas' defense and who orchestrated the No. 1 offense in the league as a member of the Cowboys, and who has the Chargers' offense averaging nearly 28 points per game in 2023.
Another week, another huge challenge, but one Kearse is eager to meet head-on.
"A good team that has a lot of good weapons," he said of the Chargers. "Obviously, Kellen is over there calling those plays. We have had a lot of work [against him]. It's a good team with good receivers, quality tight ends and a good, young quarterback in [Justin] Herbert that can really throw it.
"… Ekeler is one of the best backs in the league. … They have a quality offense."
And it's no secret Moore wants to put on a show.
"I'm pretty sure he wants to go out there and put it on us," Kearse said. "But you've gotta put in perspective what we just went through on Sunday, and how we're chomping at the bit to get out there and have our next game on the road. We want to go out there and get the [bad] taste out of our mouth. I'm pretty sure he's chomping at it, but we're chomping at it as well.
"We went out there [last week] and had an all-time stinker for what this defense is about. We're ready to go out there and play somebody as well."
Speaking of challenges, teams went 0-15 in 2022 in contests following a matchup against the 49ers. That's a mind-bending stat that shows just how physically (and mentally) demanding a battle with San Francisco can be.
The Cowboys, contrarily, are 10-1 after losses since 2021.
Something's gotta give at SoFi Stadium.
"That's unfortunate for those teams to go out and lose the next game after playing the Niners, but we're not those other teams," said Kearse.
On Monday night, the Cowboys will get another chance to prove it.