Cowboys continue to make wrong kind of history in loss to Chargers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys' season is in complete free fall.

Everything needs to be questioned following their 28-6 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

Has Jason Garrett lost his team, and will it cost him his job a season after he led the Cowboys to the best record in the NFC? If he continues as the coach, are there significant changes to come for a coaching staff that has seen its past three opponents outscore the Cowboys 72-6 in the second half?

Is Dak Prescott, who followed his first three-interception game with another two interceptions after having just four picks in 2016, really the quarterback of the future? Is Dez Bryant in his final days with the Cowboys?

One question doesn’t need to be asked: Jerry Jones will not replace himself as general manager.

A season that started with Super Bowl aspirations has dissolved into a 5-6 mess in which the Cowboys can be thankful for only that the New York Giants have been worse, at 2-8.

If there is any shred of good news, it is that the Cowboys actually scored a touchdown. It came with 12:48 to play when Rod Smith crossed the goal line for the first touchdown in 27 possessions dating to the first quarter of the Nov. 12 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

But the offense could not get out of its own way, even with the return of Tyron Smith from a groin strain. Smith was flagged for holding on what would have been a 34-yard touchdown run by Prescott in the third quarter. On the next play, Prescott was under pressure and had to throw the ball away. With 7:41 to play, Prescott had an interception returned 90 yards for a Los Angeles touchdown. It was the fourth Prescott turnover of the season to be returned for a touchdown.

But before people lay the blame at the feet of an Ezekiel Elliott-less offense, the defense did its best to make sure it got its share of blame.

For the third straight game, the defense had no answers in the second half. Philip Rivers, who threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns, led the Chargers on touchdown drives of 77, 92 and 75 yards. Los Angeles had eight passes of at least 20 yards in the game.

On the Chargers’ fourth possession of the second half, they took mercy on the Cowboys, taking a knee at the Dallas 3 in the final two minutes. In the second half of the past three games, the Cowboys have allowed scores on nine of 14 possessions.

This is how bad things have gotten for the Cowboys:

  • This is the first time the Cowboys have been held to fewer than 10 points in three straight games in franchise history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

  • This is the third time they have had four losses of 20 or more points since Jerry Jones purchased the team in 1989.

  • This is the first time since 2004 that the Cowboys have had three straight losses by at least 20 points. The Bill Parcells Cowboys lost to the Cincinnati Bengals (26-3), Philadelphia Eagles (49-21) and Baltimore Ravens (30-10) on their way to a 6-10 finish. The only other time the Cowboys had three straight losses by at least 20 points came in 1960, the first year of the organization’s existence.

With five games left to play, everybody might be coaching for a job, here or elsewhere.