Coach Mike McCarthy was photographed extending an arm into the lens of a TV cameraman while walking off the field after the game.
The cameraman tweeted that he didn’t think the coach pushed him, although the photograph made it appear he had. The cameraman said he met privately with McCarthy, who he said apologized.
Jones said the latest divisional loss didn’t change his mind about McCarthy being his coach. Questions about McCarthy’s job security continue despite consecutive 12-win seasons that ended with playoff trips, including last week’s postseason victory.
ENDING WITH A THUD
Star running back Ezekiel Elliott and tight end Dalton Schultz might have played their final games with the Cowboys. If so, both endings left something to be desired.
Elliott was the center for a strange formation on the final play, getting run over by a defender after the shotgun snap to Prescott. Receiver KaVontae Turpin was immediately tackled before the Cowboys could start pitching the ball on a play that began 76 yards from the end zone.
Schultz inexplicably didn’t get a second foot down on the catch before that play, costing the Cowboys about 15 yards of field position and preventing any realistic chance at a desperation pass.
Elliott could be cut without significant salary cap implications on the $90 million, six-year extension he signed three years ago.
Schultz, who scored three touchdowns in the playoffs, played on the franchise tag and appears unlikely to do so again. It probably will take a long-term contract to keep him, and the Cowboys have some expensive priorities coming in the next few years.
Running back Tony Pollard, who emerged as the best playmaker on offense, broke his left fibula against the 49ers when he was tackled in the first half.
He was on the final year of his rookie contract, and still will be rehabbing an injury that will require surgery when free agency opens in March. Pollard might be headed for the franchise tag.
CeeDee Lamb had a career season in his debut as the No. 1 receiver after the offseason trade of Amari Cooper in a cost-cutting move.
The Cowboys never really did figure out how to replace Cooper, though. Before the ill-conceived final play, Noah Brown (two catches) and T.Y. Hilton (one) were the only receivers with a catch after Lamb’s 10 grabs for 117 yards.
Michael Gallup, who signed a $58 million, five-year contract last offseason, was shut out against the 49ers.
Micah Parsons, an All-Pro in both of his seasons, is the anchor of a defense that led the NFL in takeaways in consecutive years. There are some questions about the supporting cast.
Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas’ first-round pick five years ago, had a strong season on a one-year contract after the Cowboys didn’t pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.
Fellow linebacker Anthony Barr, added as a free agent on a one-year contract in training camp, gave Dallas more flexibility in using Parsons as a pass rusher. Safety Donovan Wilson is a free agent.
Brett Maher is a free agent after setting an NFL record with four missed extra-point kicks in the wild-card win over the Bucs. He had one blocked against the 49ers, but the kick looked as if it would have missed anyway. He finished the season by missing six of his last seven PATs.
It’s easy to forget that Maher stabilized a shaky situation as a late add in training camp when a kicking competition flopped. Playoffs included, he was 31 of 34 on field goals (91%).