BILLS 26, COWBOYS 15

Cowboys vs. Bills: Good, bad and ugly

Jason Garrett
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Turkey wasn't the only thing that got carved on Thanksgiving Day. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills cut up the Cowboys defense Thursday for a 26-15 victory. I hope everyone ate before this game, because defeat surely left a bad taste in Cowboy's fans mouth.

The Good

Stop the presses, Amari Cooper had a catch! In all seriousness, Cooper was the lone bright spot for an otherwise abysmal Cowboys offense. He had eight catches for 85 yards on 11 targets. Good but not great numbers, but a huge upgrade over the performance he put on last week against Stehpon Gilmore and the New England Patriots.

For once the Cowboys offense did not get off to a slow start. On their opening drive, Dak Prescott played with confidence and had connections to Cooper and Ezekiel Elliot for big gains. On second and goal, Prescott was able to find a wide open Jason Witten for the first touchdown of the game. It seemed as though that was all the Cowboys could achieve on offense until garbage time in the 4th quarter.

Another good thing about this game…. The halftime show wasn't bad. Most NFL games on Thanksgiving have halftime shows that are forgettable at best. But the Cowboys brought on pop star Ellie Goulding to entertain the crowd while Jason Garrett tries to figure out how to salvage this game and his career (More on Garrett Later). Let's be honest, she put on a better show that the Cowboys offense.

The Bad

Do not let Prescott's numbers fool you. Most of his completions came in the fourth quarter with the Bills playing prevent defense. Prescott looked great in the opening drive, but afterwards looked as though he couldn't quarterback to save his life. He had one interception and one fumble before halftime. Luckily, the inception lead to a missed field goal by Steven Hauschka, but the fumble lead to a Buffalo special in which Allen handed the ball off to Andre Roberts, who gave the ball to John Brown to throw to a wide open Devin Singletary for their second touchdown of the game. Hauschka later missed the extra point, but Prescott and the offense had no answer for the Bills scores until garbage time when it was too little too late.

Speaking of bad kickers, Brett Maher was absolutely terrible. He missed both his field goal attempts and made one extra point. He missed one field goal from beyond 30 yards and one field goal from beyond 40 yards. How is it possible to play better in a bad weather game on the road than at home with perfect conditions? Maher has looked wildly inconsistent which is a common theme for the Cowboys.

Let's face it; the Cowboys don't even look like a playoff contending team. If it wasn't for the fact that they play in a bad division, the Cowboys could have been written off after their loss to the Jets. Time and time again they constantly fall under pressure, and when their games become must win games, they fold like a house of cards. Despite all of the talent this roster has, they have continued to underperform and shot themselves in the foot time and time again.

The Ugly

Coming off of a short week, players were expected to miss some time due to injuries. Leighton Vander Esh and Jeff Heath both missed this game and the absence shows. Allen and the Bill's offense essentially could do whatever they wanted to against the Cowboys. Stopping the run proved most difficult, for Singletary, Allen, and Veteran Frank Gore combined to rush for 117 yards and one touchdown by Allen.

The moment you all have been waiting for Jason Garrett has to go, period. Jerry Jones after the game said now is not the time for a coaching change, focused on getting to the Super Bowl, according to ESPN. All this does is assure Jason Garrett will at maximum last until the end of the regular season. The writing is on the wall. The Cowboys need to move on, and Jerry's clear frustrations at the game were evident that change is coming. It's only a matter of when not if anymore.

The ugliest part of the game took place after the final score. Multiple reports claimed that screaming could be heard from the Cowboys' locker room. And who was behind all of the screaming? Allegedly it was Michael Bennett trying to encourage his team, but it must have been canceled out with all of the other noise going on in the room. Jerry Jones even came down to speak to his team, but supposedly left mid speech with tears in his eyes. Seems as if things are intensifying emotionally for the Cowboys, and it can only get worse form here on out.

The Cowboys play the equally underachieving Bears next Thursday night. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives at this point of the season so it will be interesting to see what happens when two desperate teams square off under the bright lights of Thursday Night Football.




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Nationals defeat Astros, 6-0. Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images.

Left-hander Mitchell Parker threw seven shutout innings, and Luis Garcia Jr. had three singles and two RBIs and the Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros 6-0 on Sunday.

The Nationals have won three of their past four series after starting the season 2-6.

After allowing two runs over five innings last Monday in his major league debut, a 6-4 win over the L.A. Dodgers, Parker (2-0) was even more effective in his second major league start, allowing three hits, striking out eight and walking none, throwing 57 of his 73 pitches for strikes.

“He has so much poise," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "He’s ready. He gets the ball, ready to get back on the mound. I watched him today. He threw a ground ball. The play was made and he got right on the mound and was holding his glove up as if, ‘hey, come on, give me the ball, like I’m ready to get back on there’. It was cool to watch. He understands what he wants to do.”

Parker mixed his 85-87 mph splitter, 81-82 mph curveball and 92 mph four-seam fastball. He struck out Jose Altuve and Jeremy Peña a combined four times. Dylan Floro and Matt Barnes each added a scoreless inning for Washington.

Parker was thrilled to be able to throw the splitter for strikes, something that did not come as easy against the Dodgers.

“100 percent, yeah," Parker said. "We were able to get in there for more swings and misses. They were more competitive pitches. Going to keep working on it, seeing if we can keep it where it is at.”

Astros right-hander Hunter Brown replaced scheduled starter Cristian Javier, who was scratched from Sunday’s series finale with neck discomfort. Javier was placed on the 15-day injured list retroactive to April 14, and right-hander Spencer Arrighetti was called up from Triple-A Sugar Land.

Manager Joe Espada said they have not decided yet on an MRI for Javier.

“Neck discomfort, started a few days ago,” Espada said. “He tried to work through it but just couldn’t happen. This kind of just came out of nowhere. So, we are going to see what happens here.”

Brown allowed three runs and three hits and a walk in the first but then settled down, lasting four innings when his pitch count reached 84.

“Even in the first I felt like made some good pitches," Brown said. "Came to the outing prepared. Kind of did what I wanted to and it just didn’t fall our way there.”

García Jr.’s two-run single to center field highlighted the three-run first inning for the Nationals.

“We try to score every inning,' Garcia Jr. said through a translator. "But definitely when we score the first inning it gives you a different kind of sense of confidence throughout the game and it carries on through the games a different feeling.”

Joey Meneses had a bases-loaded two-run single to right field off Shawn Dubin in the fifth to make it 5-0. Nick Senzel hit his first home run of the season in the sixth to close out the scoring.

The Astros' tailspin continues, having lost five of their past six and nine of their past 12.

“It is not ideal in the situation that we are in but we are in this situation,” Espada said. “And we got to fight through this. We have guys in there who are capable of giving us innings and some of them are doing that. We are going back to playing the style of baseball that everyone sees the Astros play. We feel pretty good about the guys that we have in there to get us some good innings."

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros left-hander Framber Valdez threw again Sunday and has a chance of starting one of the games in Chicago his week. “We will see how he feels,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “Once we see how he feels, we will start talking about the possibilities if he can pitch in Chicago or not.”

Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz said he is about “90 percent” recovered from the flu that placed him on the 10-day injured list on April 12. Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Ruiz will go on a rehab assignment this week to play a couple of games before returning to the club.

UP NEXT

Houston travels to Chicago to begin a three-game series against the Cubs on Tuesday. Espada confirmed JP France and Justin Verlander will start two of the games, but did not specify the order. Spencer Arrighetti, who was called up for Javier, is an option for the opener.

Washington has a day off before hosting the L.A. Dodgers on Tuesday night. Left-hander Patrick Corbin (0-3, 8.06 ERA) faces the Dodgers for the second consecutive start.

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