The preseason is finally over for the Dallas Cowboys. As far as Troy Aikman is concerned, so are the excuses.
For the first time in 12 years and only the third time in the 39-year history of the franchise, the Cowboys went through an exhibition season without winning.The Jacksonville Jaguars made sure of that Thursday night, getting sharp play from quarterback Mark Brunell and four turnovers by the defense in a 42-20 victory in Jacksonville, Fla.
"I could sit here for an hour and tell you why we didn't win some preseason games," said Aikman, who played only two series and completed two of his four passes. "That's not important. What is important is that the preseason is over, and no one can sit here at the end of next Sunday and say we were playing younger players.
"Whatever excuses we had over the last few weeks, we don't have those anymore."
That's not to say their troubles are behind them.
On the day before the Cowboys' final preseason game, left tackle Larry Allen was named in a complaint by a topless dancer who alleged she was raped at knifepoint. No charges have been filed, and Allen isn't talking.
"I don't view it as a distraction," Jones said of the latest negative story. "It's regrettable for Larry, but it won't impact how we will prepare. We're going to do everything we can to minimize this sort of incident."
The Jaguars (2-2) have no such concerns.
The only event that has shaken up their camp in four years was when Brunell tore knee ligaments last season and missed two regular-season games. He went on to lead the AFC in pass efficiency last year and showed again Thursday night he's poised for a big year.
COLTS 20, LIONS 17: The preseason is over for Peyton Manning.
The richest rookie in NFL history closed his preseason impressively Thursday night, passing for 172 yards and two touchdowns to help the Indianapolis Colts defeat Detroit 20-17 in Indianapolis.
Both TD tosses went to Marvin Harrison, including a 76-yarder on the game's first offensive play.
"We saw some things on film that we thought we might get deep on them early," said Manning, who hit Harrison in stride after he beat former Syracuse team-mate Kevin Abrams.
"Marvin ran a good route, the protection was good. On a play like that when you know the guy (defender) is beat, the main thing you want to do is get the throw off," Manning said. "You just put the ball in the air, let Marvin run under it."
Manning and Harrison later connected on a 40-yard TD play before being given the second half off. The former Tennessee star finished the preseason with four TD passes, completing 32 of 65 passes for 520 yards with three interceptions and only two sacks.