Owner Jerry Jones hoped his team would come to New Orleans and make a statement about their ability to not only make a playoff run in 2013 but possibly be a Super Bowl contender.
Instead of getting a breakthrough road win and building momentum for a realistic playoff run following next week’s bye, the Cowboys got a monumental beat down, leaving no questions how far they remain from the NFL’s elite teams.
"I didn't expect this. I didn't see this coming," a despondent Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "They did a great job tonight. We were the recipients of it. "They deserve anything you say about a team thoroughly and physically beating your team. The saints did that. It doesn't feel good. It's embarrassing. It's embarrassing to lose. It's embarrassing to not be representative. It's embarrassing to not be competitive."
Instead of distancing themselves in what is a down NFC East division, the Cowboys (5-5) have now fallen back in a first-place tie with the Philadelphia Eagles (5-5). And they have given the New York Giants, who began the season with six straight losses, hope. The Giants (3-6) have won three straight and have a winnable game against the suddenly struggling Green Bay Packers before a possible showdown against the Cowboys Nov. 24, following Dallas ’ bye.
It’s all fitting for a Cowboys team that simply can’t shake what has been more than a decade of mediocrity. The Cowboys are back to .500 coming off back-to-back 8-8 seasons and have a suitable record of 123-123 since 1997.
The question is do the Cowboys have any answers going forward to regain control of the NFC East race and reach the playoffs, especially with their continued problems on defense and injury issues.
They hope to use the bye to find out. Garrett said they reassess what they are doing on offense and defense and who they are doing it with.
Though disappointed, Jones is not ready to give up hope.
“We are at ten games,” Jones said. “We got six more to go. We got to put a plan together that allows us to have a shot at this thing. What we are trying to do is get in the playoffs and go from there. We can do something about it. And see if we can have a happier day this year, not next year but this year.”