Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, like the rest of his team, is relieved and satisfied get the ugly win against hapless Browns (2-8) rather than settling for likely season-ending alternative.
But the owner was not thrilled with his team's continued inability to put a complete performance together and give legitimate credence to their hopes of reaching the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl for first time since 1995.
The Cowboys got back to back wins for the first time all season and moved their record to 5-5. The Washington Redskins (4-6) up next in four days on Thanksgiving Day, providing their third straight opponent with a losing record following the Eagles (3-7) and the Browns.
With the NFC East-leading New York Giants (6-4) on a bye this week, the Cowboys have a legitimate chance to move a half game behind them in the standings before they play again next Sunday. That they only have one team left on their schedule with a winning record has also fostered hope of a late run.
But as their disappointing start against the Browns showed, nothing is guaranteed with a struggling Cowboys team that continues to be challenged by injuries and poor play on the offense line, a non-existent running game and untimely letdowns on defense.
"This wasn't pretty," Jones said. "We are fortunate to get out of there with a win. We have to do better. We have to play better if we are going to do anything with this team. We have to play better to take advantage of the fact that we are not out of it. We can all have the will, and strength tenacity you want but pretty soon bad plays by good players are going to suck the will out of you. It will suck it out of you. I know our fans see that. We got to play better."