ARLINGTON, Texas – Dak Prescott's emotions were evident after the Cowboys had won and lost Sunday night.
Beaten the Washington Redskins by their largest margin of victory this season, 47-16.
Lost their chance at the playoffs after the Philadelphia Eagles clinched the NFC East with a road victory over the New York Giants just moments after the final whistle blew inside AT&T Stadium.
"I don't know if I've ever been disappointed after a win, to be honest," quarterback Dak Prescott said. "But that was tonight."
The Cowboys failed to clinch the division outright on the road against Philadelphia a week ago. They knew postseason hopes Sunday were remote, having to rely on the Eagles to lose in addition to handling their own business at home against Washington.
Still, the finality of the season set in afterward. Inside a subdued locker room, players talked about opportunity lost.
"This group of guys, we spent so much time together day in and day out, it becomes a family," running back Ezekiel Elliott said. "For it to end, especially with the team we had, it sucks. But this group of men, we love each other and I'm proud of how we fought all season."
For the third time this decade, the Cowboys missed the playoffs the year after winning the NFC East. Last season, the club finished 10-6 and won nine of 12 games decided by one score. This season they lost six of seven games decided by one score, including three in the final six weeks.
"So many big games where we didn't get the win where we should have in our minds," linebacker Jaylon Smith said. "But they made more plays than us throughout the year."
Questions all season have centered around the job security of head coach Jason Garrett in the final year of his contract. After the game, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones wouldn't get into speculation about Garrett's future at this juncture.
But the Cowboys have plenty of decisions to make about their roster as well. That's why Sunday carried so much disappointment beyond the reality of no playoffs. The 2019 Cowboys, as a whole, will never be together again. Change on some level is inevitable year to year in the NFL.
"Disappointing, simple as that," said Prescott, who has an expiring contract but is considered a franchise cornerstone moving forward. "You get in the locker room and you see the love for one another. You see the care. You see the commitment to one another. That's what is disappointing.
"You all have to look at one another and say that we gave it our all and did the best we could and just couldn't get the job done. That's everybody."