Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys eliminated from playoffs as Jets trump Kellen Moore-led rally

Kellen Moore had some good moments and bad moments after replacing Matt Cassel in the second quarter.
Kellen Moore had some good moments and bad moments after replacing Matt Cassel in the second quarter. AP

Kellen Moore and the Dallas Cowboys almost lived out a real-life Disney movie Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.

But this is the NFL and there will be no happy endings for the Cowboys in what has been a dreadful season.

The New York Jets beat the Cowboys 19-16 with a 40-yard field goal from Randy Bullock with 36 seconds left in the game.

That’s the nature of the NFL. For some teams, it works out. They get a chance to compete in the playoffs. For us this year, it’s not going to happen.

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said

It officially eliminated the Cowboys (4-10) from the playoffs and assured the biggest one-season collapse in team history.

The Cowboys are guaranteed to have at least six more losses than last year’s 12-4 campaign, which is the largest one-season turnaround ever.

“That’s the nature of the NFL. For some teams, it works out. They get a chance to compete in the playoffs. For us this year, it’s not going to happen,” coach Jason Garrett said.

Owner Jerry Jones has known the end was near when the Cowboys lost quarterback Tony Romo for the second time on Thanksgiving Day with a fractured collarbone.

The Cowboys tied a team record with six consecutive home losses and are assured of their worst record since going 6-10 in 2010.

It’s still shocking to him that a Cowboys team that came into the season with Super Bowl hopes after last year’s trip the NFC Divisonal playoffs has been eliminated in historic fashion.

The Cowboys tied a team record with six consecutive home losses and are assured of their worst record since going 6-10 in 2010.

The Cowboys lose by 3 to the Jets, are out of the playoffs, and now the season is about whether Kellen Moore is worth developing. (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).

“It is. We’ve got a long time left here this month and of course we’ve got a long January and you want to be a part of this thing at this particular time,” Jones said. “That’s very disappointing and it’s certainly nothing that I could have envisioned that we’d be sitting here.

“My plan was for us to have it all together, really have it together this time, have some of the early guys that we didn’t have on the team back and really be peaking right now. What we didn’t have at the end of last year I thought we’d put on the team to be ready for it. Then we lost probably the most important weapon we had last year and that was our offense.”

The loss also ruined what appeared to be fairy tale for Moore.

The former college star from Boise State who was considered too small, too slight and have too weak of an arm to be given a legitimate shot to play in the NFL, replaced Matt Cassel and threw a touchdown pass in the second quarter. He led the Cowboys to a game-tying field goal drive in the fourth quarter.

“Take the good with the bad,” said Moore, who played in a game for the first time in his four-year NFL career. “I was certainly excited about it. At the end of the day, we didn’t do good enough things to win. You have to learn from those and grow from it.”

A team that has failed to finish when it matters most gave up a late drive to lose for the eighth time this season when within one score in the fourth quarter.

We didn’t make the plays at the end of the ballgame. They made a big throw and catch.

Jason Garrett

Dan Bailey’s 50-yard field goal tied the game at 16-16 with 1:55 left.

However, the Jets quickly moved from their 20 to the Cowboys’ 21, keyed by a 43-yard completion from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Kenbrell Thompkins. From there, Bullock made the game-winning kick.

“We didn’t make the plays at the end of the ballgame,” Garrett said. “They made a big throw and catch.”

Darren McFadden rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries. Moore completed 15 of 25 passes for 158 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Cassel completed three of eight for 37 yards and an interception.

The Cowboys have used four quarterbacks in a season for the first time since the 2001 5-11 campaign when it was Quincy Carter, Ryan Leaf, Clint Stoerner and Anthony Wright. Moore’s turn came after Romo, the released Brandon Weeden and Cassel.

It’s our fourth quarterback this year. It’s hard. You work so hard to get yourself in position to get in the postseason and compete.

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten

Tight end Jason Witten was on that 2001 team and is here to relive this nightmare. The Cowboys are 1-9 without Romo.

“It’s our fourth quarterback this year,” Witten said. “It’s hard. You work so hard to get yourself in position to get in the postseason and compete. As crazy as this season has been there was always still hope and belief. We’ve got to be better. You can’t make excuses.”

Bailey had field goals of 27, 38 and 50 yards.

Dallas plays at Buffalo next week and close at home against Washington

When Moore initially replaced Cassel, it looked like the continuation of a nightmare.

His first pass lost a yard to Terrance Williams and his second pass to Williams in double coverage was intercepted.

The Jets turned the interception into a field goal and a 9-3 lead.

Two possessions later, however, Moore showed some of that old Boise State magic, completing three passes to lead to the Cowboys to a 55-yard scoring drive. He hit Williams for 14, Brice Butler for 16 before Dez Bryant took a hitch, made cornerback Darrelle Revis miss and ran into the end zone from 10 yards out.

Moore’s turnovers ultimately did him and the Cowboys in.

He killed a Cowboys scoring drive in the third quarter with a red zone interception to Calvin Pryor on a pass to Bryant in double coverage.

But Dallas countered with Terrance Mitchell intercepting Ryan Fitzpatrick at the Jets’ 21.

Four plays later, Bailey made a 38-yard field goal to push their lead to 13-9.

When Fitzpatrick threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker to give the Jets a 16-13 lead, it appeared to set up the fairy tale finish for Moore.

He led the Cowboys 51 yards on 11 plays, keyed by a fourth down completion to Cole Beasley.

Bailey’s 50-yard field goal, which bounced off the right upright, tied the game at 16-16 with 1:55 to play.

But it left too much time for the Jets.

With the season over, the question now is whether the Cowboys will continue to start Moore over the final two games against the Bills and Redskins to evaluate him for the future.

The left-hander makes his Cowboys debut, throwing three interceptions and one touchdown pass.

Garrett is not ready to make that decision.

But he was impressed with the initial play of Moore.

“I thought he did some good things in the game,” Garrett said. “He has a good feel for playing. We all saw that. Obviously you can’t turn the ball over. The red zone turnover hurt us.

“I do think he did some good things. He made some good throws at critical moments, kept drives alive. Obviously you have to eliminate the mistakes. There were some good things in his performance.”

Clarence Hill: 817-390-7760, @clarencehilljr

By Clarence Hill

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