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What the Cowboys Said After Loss to Ravens

Left: Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott; Left: Cowboys OLB Leighton Vander Esch
Left: Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott; Left: Cowboys OLB Leighton Vander Esch

Head Coach Mike McCarthy

On if Baltimore's ability to run the ball took them out of their game plan:

"Well, I felt the way the game started it was really the big plays, particularly in the first half. When we came in at half time, I think we were minus five in the big play category. Obviously, the big 4th-and-1 and the 3rd-and-1 for Baltimore, those runs were factored. But with that, we did a number of good things in the game – the time of possession, the first down production. Obviously, the issue, we're attempting to kick field goals and they were scoring touchdowns. Obviously, the result, you know, we were almost 300 yards in rushing is a big factor in the outcome of the game. But their big play production, particularly with Lamar (Jackson) tonight was a huge factor in the outcome of game."

On run defense regression:

"Well, I think today was obviously a different challenge than we've seen. This is a unique offense. It's a very physical offensive line and the dynamics of the combination of the running backs and Lamar. Really, the 3rd-and-1 and particularly the fourth down, it was a call that we really should be in great shape there. We didn't execute it. But hey, 300 yards is obviously astronomical. We have to get a quick turnaround. Just when you feel like you're taking steps as a team, the keys to the game was stopping the run and we definitely didn't get that done tonight."

On Dez Bryant's removal:

"I was informed as I was walking on the field before the kickoff. Obviously, if that is the case, I feel bad that he has the virus. I can't tell you who talked to who or so forth. I'm just going off what I was told."

QB Andy Dalton

On if stalling near the red zone halted momentum for the offense:

"For sure. We kept getting stalled right before the red zone, and we had a tough run on kicks. We've got to find a way to convert first downs in those situations, keep drives alive and get down there to score touchdowns. It was balanced, and there were some good things that happened tonight; but we've got to find a way to keep pushing and keep getting those first downs to give us a chance to score."

On if he felt that the pass game found consistency, despite the lack of explosive plays:

"I thought that we spread it around a lot. We've got a lot of different guys catches, and I think that's what they were kind of giving us. That's the good thing about this offense and this team. Just our skill position, you can spread it around to a bunch of different guys and get everybody involved. There's some good things that we did in the pass game, but exactly what you said, we've got to find a way to hit more explosive [plays]."

RB Ezekiel Elliott

On what it was like getting out there after so many days off and if it felt like it was slow getting jumpstarted tonight:

"You know, it did seem like we hadn't been on the field for forever. I think it was, what, 12 days? Um, but, nah, I don't think we felt like we had a slow start or anything. I just think the biggest thing on the offense's end, just uh, knowing we are getting good field position, we're getting the ball on our 50, on our side of the 50 or their side of the 50, we gotta go score touchdowns. And that's kind of been the story this year."

On if they were wondering what was going on with Dez, since he was out there early on and then scratched later on due to a positive COVID test:

"Yeah, some guys had said something about it right before we went out, before the national anthem. So, I mean, that sucks. I hope he gets better. I hope he recovers and I hope no one else on their team is affected also."

On Baltimore's ability to run the ball with 294 yards on the ground and whether that is how the Cowboys want to play if they had everybody healthy:

"I mean, obviously you want to be able to run the ball well. But, I think their offense is a little bit different than ours. They run a lot out of the zone read, and we can run that with Dak. But we try not to run as much. I'm not sure in the future we are probably not going to be trying to run Dak, so, I mean, but when you got that zone read, when you got the zone read and the quarterback reading in, it adds an extra blocker for the offense. Then they run those sweeps and all the split flow, so it's a tough offense to stop."

WR CeeDee Lamb

On the missed pass interference call before halftime:

"That's just crazy, that's just bad. I don't know… it was right in front of him, I don't know why he didn't call it. Yeah, I don't know. I don't know why he missed that. He was right in front of me, it was just a missed call."

On the Hail Mary pass before halftime:

"It was really just bad judgment. I kind of—it felt like I was the only one that jumped. I kind of rose above everybody. It was just, like I said, bad judgment on the ball. This definitely [has] been a learning curve for me as far as catching the ball overall. A lot of balls will hit the ground that's come our way, and I'm aware of that. So I'm really just looking to get better."

On if he was a teammate with Marquise Brown:

"That's my brother. Not my blood brother, but he's like family."

On Brown making a great catch:

"He did. I'm so proud of him and everything he's accomplished. We talked about this when we were at OU together, so I tip my hat off to him and I hope you keep going."

K Greg Zuerlein

On the reasons for his tough night:

"Yeah, I mean there's no excuse… nothing playing and then just me not doing my job."

On if the wind played a factor:

"I wouldn't say it was anything at all. I think conditions are fine, even if there is wind I'm good enough to make the kick. So I just didn't do it."

On if the "watermelon" onside kick was the same from earlier this season against Atlanta:

"Yeah, just grass to turf. Same concept, just a little wrinkles in there to try and change it up. But credit to Baltimore, they were smart and got to the ball, but got to execute better."

DE DeMarcus Lawrence

On what was the most frustrating part about trying to stop the run:

"I'd say the most frustrating part is just miss tackles. I feel like the defense played solid because we controlled as much as we could. It's just, Certain plays we got out of whack and that's when they had a good opportunity and they scored on it. So overall, I feel like when you're facing a good team, a good run team, with this triple option, it's hard to make a mistake one play because that one play can hurt you the whole game."

On why, or if, he feels the defense has taken a step back against the run:

"I don't feel like that we took a step back. When you're playing a run quarterback like we played tonight, I feel like us as a D-Line, we should have slowed down on our rush and I take responsibility for the most part of that because I knew going in all week what type of quarterback we was playing and what he likes to do and just seeing him throwing the ball I shouldn't be rushing up the field. I should stay on the ball and make sure he couldn't escape out of the pocket. So, it's just self-inflicted wounds and I feel like we can clean it up and all get better and learn from it."

On why he thinks the defense may be second guessing themselves:

"When you're playing the triple option, it's more than one read you have to read. So I can understand why Leighton second guessed himself because he's not just playing the dive, now he has to play the pitch from the quarterback, now he has to play pass - it's a lot of keys that y'all don't see on film that we have to recognize and we have to recognize it in a split second or our play can bust. So I don't feel like is nothing major to it. It's all about, you know, recognizing those keys and cleaning-up our bad plays"

On whether he saw Dez before the game and if he heard about his positive COVID test:

"I didn't get a chance to see Dez…Yeah man, just pray that he would recover well from it. I just hate to see people go through this and the rest of their families getting infected and, you know, all that comes with it. I pray for his safety, I pray for his health and I know Dez's a strong guy, he'll get better from it."

LB Sean Lee

On the frustration of not stopping the run:

"I mean they just out-executed us. We didn't play well and we really didn't make stops when it mattered. When the team rushes like that you get to …. Defensively we prepared, but we've got to execute when it matters most."

On knowing to prepare for Jackson all along:

"Yeah, we prepared for him and he's a dynamic player. He's hard to play against and we knew how tough it was going to be along with the scheme and the running back and O-line, and we didn't stand up to the test."

On the challenge of defending Jackson:

"He's such a dynamic athlete, can make incredible plays with his feet but also can make plays moving and throwing. Some of the great throws he made in the game… the one touchdown pass was incredible. So he's just a complete player that they obviously rally around. Just when you have a play that you think you covered everybody and made a play, he runs and gets a first down. So, tough guy to play against and great player."

On if he got to see Dez:

"I didn't get to see Dez. I'm bummed that he didn't get to play in the game. The guy has worked incredibly hard. Watching him on tape, he looks great. I know he'll battle back from this and continue to help that team, but it's great to see him back and it's a bummer he didn't get to play. He deserved it."

LB Jaylon Smith

On what kind of beast Jackson is:

"You said what kind of beast is he? He a dog. He a dog, and it showed. That's about respect. We've got to execute. We've got to execute better. We've got to execute better. We had so much time to prepare and put together a game plan, and when you come out and don't execute, that's what happens against the reigning MVP."

On if they knew all along he would play:

"Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. But as a competitor, me especially, me as a-- I want all the best players to play."

On why he makes the running backs better:

"Because he's unaccounted for, and perfect math and defense don't count the quarterback in the running game. I mean, you got someone that can do that, [stuff] happens."

On how demoralizing it was giving up 300 rushing yards:

"It's disappointing, man. It's disappointing. It's something that we're so much better than. We got to find a way, how can we get it out of every single player for four quarters. That's something we're not doing right now. We're not getting the job done. Just coaches and players, we've got to come together, we've got to keep grinding. It's tough times right now, but best believe we're going to remember all of this."

On if he got the chance to see Dez:

"Man, that's my brother. It's such a bummer what happened, man. But I know how hard he's worked. I know how much of a competitor he is. I personally believe he can still play this game, so, man, shout out to Dez. Shout out to my big brother, man. He gon' be alright, how about that."

LB Leighton Vander Esch

On what the issues where with stopping the run:

"Just not being disciplined. I mean, I don't think we played very good team defense as a whole tonight. Just being disciplined and just coming downhill and hitting them"

On Jackson's untouched TD run:

"That's 100 percent on me, that was all me. I read to play right off the bat and I should have just fit my assignment. That one was all on me. I read it perfectly until I second-guessed myself and thought he handed it to the running back, but that wasn't my job. So, I need to do my job."

On how frustrating the Jackson TD run was to him:

"Yeah, obviously that one hurts, and there's a few other ones that you wish you could give back during the game too. But I think just being humble and being accountable about it is first and foremost what you need to do, what you need to be, and that's exactly what I'm gonna be to my teammates and the coaches. Yeah, that was just 100% on me and I need to be better, trust my instincts, do my job on that play, and just throughout the whole game. I want those guys to be able to rely on me and that was just out of character of me."

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