Despite loss, rookies lead Cowboys in right directon after turnaround season
ARLINGTON, TX - It felt like a punch in the gut. "It sucks. I don't know," explained David Irving. "The offense did what it had to do," Defensive Back Barry Church said shaking his head. "Defensively, we stunk up the joint so." Sunday night's heart-breaking NFC divisional loss to the Packers came far too quickly for the Dallas Cowboys. 13 wins, tying the franchise's best regular season record, now just a a dead end. "None, nothing. I mean, the playoffs -- that's everything," Church said in an emotional interview moments after the game. "The regular season, there's no trophies for being the regular season champion so, 13 goes right down the drain." But they were hard-earned 13 wins that established an identity -- led by rookies Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. Both in MVP conversations, with Zeke leading the league in rushing this year -- helping Dallas turn around that 4-12 season into one many will remember. "Being here since I got drafted, I think I've really found a home in Dallas," a quite Ezekiel Elliott said following the loss. "I just really appreciate the passion and love of this team and this city. This locker room was truly special." "I mean Dak, he -- he hasn't acted like a rookie since he's gotten here and just continues to play that way," said 13-year veteran Jason Witten. Today was hard. It was hard for me and I'm sure it was hard for them as well. But I'll take time and have conversations with them. They have bright futures ahead of them." And so as the 2016 season closes, it's eyes forward to 2017, and after a season like this, the sky's the limit. "If you walk out of here and say we represented ourselves and we were who we are, I think you can feel good about it," said head coach Jason Garrett." Dak Prescott, who ends his rookie campaign with 13 regular season wins, said "Right now, I'm going to go back and look at this film and that's going to suck doing that, but once we put that behind us, I think there's nothing but good things for us moving forward in what this team can do."