IRVING, Texas —
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett talked about some good things that happened for Dallas in its last game. And owner Jerry Jones said during his weekly radio show that his team could be evolving into one that can compete for a championship this season.
Wait, aren't these the same Cowboys who have lost three of their last four games and are at the bottom of the NFC East?
"There were a lot of things to feel good about. There are no moral victories as we know," Garrett said Wednesday. "But there were some positive things we can build on and there were certainly a lot to correct as well."
The Cowboys (2-3) did pile up 481 total yards, their most in two years, and matched a franchise record with 79 offensive plays while holding the ball for 40 minutes at Baltimore. They had an 18-play drive of 110 yards, overcoming 30 yards in penalties, for a touchdown in the final minute. After missing a tying 2-point conversion try, they recovered an onside kick and had a chance at a winning field goal.
The bottom line, though, is Dallas lost to the Ravens and now has the same record it had at this point last season, when the Cowboys finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.
"We need a victory, bad," fullback Lawrence Vickers said. "This is very critical to get this win."
Dallas plays Sunday at Carolina (1-4), the only NFC team other than the Cowboys that hasn't yet scored 100 points this season.
That 31-29 loss at Baltimore is eerily similar to what happened last October. Like this year, the Cowboys were coming off their bye week when they lost a close road game against one of the AFC's best teams (20-16 at New England) and then played a struggling team the next week.
After Carolina, the Cowboys play their only home game in a six-week stretch — a rematch against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who have won four of five since losing the season opener to Dallas.
During his appearance Tuesday on KRLD-FM, Jones said the Cowboys played physical at Baltimore and "did things that we can win with in the future."
The owner, who turned 70 on Saturday, also reiterated what he has said all year about the Giants becoming Super Bowl champions after winning only nine games in the regular season.
"We don't have time to have a bad time here. We've got to have some wins to make sure we're in the hunt," Jones said. "We know that you want your team as healthy and as in sync as it can be as we get on into the end of the season.
"We know that we've played one division game and won it. We've got those guys, the Giants, coming back in here. We know that's going to be a big game for us," he said. "All of those things give us a chance to take a team that is evolving into, if you look at this plusses (Sunday), evolving into a team that can compete for the championship. Not next year, this year."
Then Jones emphasized that he indeed was talking about this season.
"I'm not into everybody getting better, learning for years to come," Jones said. "It's this year."
When asked about those comments, Garrett called Jones an outstanding owner and said the team appreciates everything he does. The coach then said his team's focus was solely on preparing to play Carolina.
"He believes in us, just like we believe in ourselves," Vickers said about Jones. "Whatever happens this week, that's what I'm focused on. At the same time, when you hear your owner talking about things, that's good and enlightening."
Notes: K Dan Bailey says he's moving forward and trying to forget as quickly as possible the missed 51-yard field goal attempt at Baltimore that he hooked just left of the upright. "I didn't miss it by much," he said Wednesday. That came after the Cowboys managed only a 1-yard pass with 26 seconds and one timeout left. Asked if an extra 5 yards would have made the difference, Bailey responded, "Maybe. I don't know." ... CB Mike Jenkins, who had an MRI on Monday after he banged up his surgically repaired right shoulder against Baltimore, wasn't listed on the practice report Wednesday. That indicates he is OK.