Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys suffered another defeat in the playoffs, being upset by the 49ers 23-17 at home. It was not a good look for the Dallas coach.
The Cowboys battled tough all season long, finishing with a 12-5 record, bouncing back in Dak Prescott’s return from a serious leg injury which took him out last year.
They earned the #3 seed and looked to be in good position to make a deep playoff run for the first time in a long time. However, it wasn’t meant to be as the San Francisco 49ers walked into AT&T Stadium with their heads held high and executed the perfect game plan to upset the Cowboys.
That’s ‘Wide Back’ @19problemz for the tuddy 💰
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) January 16, 2022
The game came down to a final, bizzare play call as the Cowboys tried to score a last second touchdown to win the game. However, before they could get the snap off, time ran off, and the game ended. Dallas claimed they were robbed of a final play because the officials bumped into Dak, delaying the snap while officials defended the cause because they’re required to touch the ball before every snap (which they were rushing to do).
Mike McCarthy Post Game Interview: Dallas HC Explains Reasoning Behind Final Play
How did the Cowboys end up in such a situation? Well, they got the ball down 6 with 32 seconds left and 80 yards to go and no timeouts. After some good quick pickups, gaining 39 yards in 18 seconds, Dallas was at the San Francisco 41 yard line with 14 seconds left.
The 49ers played aggressively on the sidelines, making sure Dallas didn’t get a chance to pick up yards and run out of bounds to stop the clock. This left the middle of the field, and so Mike McCarthy called a QB draw to gain some cheeky yardage. Ultimately, the risky play call proved to seal the game for Dallas.
The last play of the Cowboys seasonpic.twitter.com/z9r4GhXqnG
— Covers (@Covers) January 17, 2022
Mike McCarthy was slammed with questions about that final play call in his post game interview, and here is his defense for what Dallas did.
“We felt strongly this game was going to come down to key situations in the end. It’s disappointing we didn’t get a shot there at the end. … These last two plays, all those scenarios, we put a tremendous amount of time into it. We had a lot of confidence trying to set up that last play, but yes, our execution was not where we would have liked it to have been, clearly.”
“I have never seen that come down the way it came down as far as the collision between the umpire and the quarterback. We were trying to get inside the 30-yard line to set up hte last play. The mechanics were intact, I felt, from our end of it. Communication that I was given on the sideline when they were reviewing it is they were going to put time back on the clock. The next thing I know, they’re running off the field. That’s all the facts I know.”
“It’s the right decision. Just like anything, the execution and the officiating spotting the ball wasn’t in tune. We should not have had any trouble getting the ball spotted there.”
Well, while McCarthy feels like Dallas should have had another chance, there’s a genuine argument that they shouldn’t have. Tony Romo explains it in his call of the game.
Tony Romo explaining why it was Dak’s fault for not giving the ref the ball on final play pic.twitter.com/HTqhAjfGnw
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) January 17, 2022
Even if the Cowboys would have had another play, the call itself is extremely risky as they would have only had 1 second left. You simply cannot go down the middle of the field in such a situation. Even though McCarthy explained that the team had practiced the play multiple times, they did not have enough time for it.
Coach commentators blaming Dak. Teams do practice that situation and everyone knows that you should assume you need at least 16 seconds to call that play and ideally 18. Cowboys called that play with 14 seconds to go. That mistake is on the play call not the players
— Joe Banner (@JoeBanner13) January 17, 2022
Dallas will now have a tough offseason ahead of them as another great regular season ends in disappointment. The Cowboys need to make changes if they really want to compete with the elite teams of the NFC and perhaps those changes could include a new head coach.