With another gut-wrenching loss in the 2015 season, the Dallas Cowboys are now officially eliminated, but that doesn’t mean Cowboys fans can’t be proud of this team. Despite the likes of Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden, and now even Kellen Moore, this team continues to play tough, the latest example of that being their loss against the New York Jets.
After a miserable interception, Cassel was pulled against the Jets, which forced Moore into his first professional action. Things didn’t start off well for Moore, throwing an interception on his second professional pass, but that interception didn’t keep the Boise State alumna from raising some eyebrows.
Towards the end of the first half, thanks to some good runs from Darren McFadden, who finished the game with 100 yards on 16 carries, Moore was able to throw his first touchdown pass of his career on an 10-yard reception to Dez Bryant. Thanks to a last-second miss from Randy Bullock, the Cowboys would go into the half with a 10-9 despite offensive stagnancy as well as two turnovers.
Things continued to go the Cowboys’ way in the third quarter. Moore drove the Cowboys into the redzone, but he was intercepted by forcing a pass to Bryant in the back of the endzone. A few plays later, however, Terrance Mitchell, a 2014 seventh-round pick recently brought up to the active roster, had the first interception of his career. Dallas went on to finish that drive with a Dan Bailey field goal.
With just less than nine minutes to play, Eric Decker scored on a well-executed “rub-route”, giving the Jets a 16-13 lead. On the ensuing drive, Moore’s first five passes saw five completions for 63 yards, setting the Cowboys up in field goal range. Bailey would go on to boot a field goal, thanks to a kiss from the right upright, marking the second time of the season where Bailey tied the game by hitting a field that came in contact with an upright.
Randy Bullock got revenge on Dallas on the next drive. From missing an extra point to a field goal, Bullock was able to connect on a 40-yard field goal, which gave the Jets a three-point lead.
With just 36 seconds left and no timeouts, Moore looked deep for Bryant on second down, but the ball was batted and intercepted by Marcus Williams, marking the Cowboys’ fourth interception of the day.
With the loss, the Cowboys are now 4-10 and officially eliminated from playoff contention. And while it’s been a long and heart-breaking season for the Cowboys, this game was the epitome of a team that showed fight. It’s quite amazing that Dallas has been in pretty much every game this season outside of the ones against the New England Patriots as well as against the Carolina Panthers.
The good news is that the Cowboys might have found something in Moore. Sure he may not be the long-term future at quarterback, but his play might give the Cowboys more clarity on what they should do in the first round of the upcoming draft. Dallas’ season is over, but the pieces are there for the team to rebuild and blossom into a contender as early as next season.