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Thread: Watkins: How a bizarre penalty and Garrett’s timidity doomed Cowboys to another tough road loss

  1. #1
    One-armed Knife Sharpener Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Watkins: How a bizarre penalty and Garrett’s timidity doomed Cowboys to another tough road loss

    How a bizarre penalty and Garrett’s timidity doomed Cowboys to another tough road loss
    By Calvin Watkins Oct 21, 2018

    LANDOVER, Md. —​ This was just a twisted way​ to lose a game.

    The Cowboys were left​​ for dead by an aging running back, carrying the offense of a team that held a 10-point fourth-quarter lead over them on the road. Dak Prescott rallied Dallas somehow, and yet he never got a chance to win the game.

    Jason Garrett played for the tie instead of the win, and it cost him.

    Washington defeated Dallas 20-17 Sunday at FedEx Field. They’re now 4-2 with a firm hold of first place in the NFC East. The Cowboys are now 3-4, tied for second place in the division with significant problems to address.

    “We are very frustrated,” Ezekiel Elliott said after the game.

    This was a battle decided by a deep snapper’s penalty and a seemingly reliable kicker becoming unreliable at the worst possible time. It was a shocking ending to a poorly-played game by the Cowboys overall. There were bits and pieces of hope from the Cowboys’ offense but once again, they were stricken by inconsistency — and late, potentially the team’s biggest problem: Jason Garrett going soft when presented with an opportunity.

    The offensive line played poorly on the road again and the Dallas running game suffered as a result. Elliott, the NFL’s second-leading rusher, ran 15 times for just 33 yards while 33-year-old Adrian Peterson outplayed him, rushing for 99 yards on 24 carries. He almost looked like the Peterson of old, the one we saw in Minnesota when he ruled the Metrodome for years. The Cowboys had no real answers for him then, and nothing changed today. Washington, on the other hand, was prepared for Elliott.

    But Prescott gave his team an opportunity; it’s just too bad the head coach wasn’t prepared to take advantage of it. Down 10 in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys not only got the ball back with 69 seconds left, but had a chance to play for the win.

    Garrett played for the tie in a game he was desperate to win.

    “The biggest thing after we got ourselves into field goal range was to try to get up there and clock the ball, preserve that last timeout and then give us the freedom,” Garrett said. “I think we were able to get the clock down to 12 seconds. So once we got down to that point, the biggest thing that we wanted to do was maximize the field goal opportunity and run the ball, make some yards and use the timeout and then kick the game-tying field goal.”

    With 59 seconds left, Dallas faced a 3rd-and-10 from the Washington 36 when Prescott threw a prayer to Cole Beasley, who made an 18-yard reception near the sidelines. Prescott found Beasley again, this time for nine yards, and the Cowboys hurried up to get the next play off. Beasley caught a six-yarder with 28 seconds to play and the Cowboys rushed to the line of scrimmage to spike the ball. But the officials called a timeout to review the catch. A replay confirmed the catch and in the process, gave the Cowboys time to set up a play. They had more than enough time to take a shot from the Washington 31. Instead, Elliott gained three yards and the clock ticked down to three seconds before Garrett called timeout.

    Dallas could have taken one shot in the end zone with 28 seconds to play. Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan simply chose not to.

    Garrett’s decision cost his team a game and likely frustrated Jerry Jones, who didn’t speak with reporters after the game. It also raises more questions about the head coach’s long-term future with the franchise.

    In case you missed what happened next, here’s how it went down. With three seconds remaining, Dallas was playing for the tie and a 47-yard field goal until deep snapper LP Ladouceur was penalized for a false start. The refs said he moved the ball, causing Washington defenders to jump offsides.

    Ladouceur did what he normally does. With the ball laid laterally, he moved it horizontally so he could put two hands under it. But the refs didn’t see it that way, saying that movement caused the defenders to jump offsides.

    In fact, nobody in the Cowboys’ locker room has seen a snap infraction before. Not Rod Marinelli, who has been coaching in college and the pros for more than 40 years. Not Ladouceur, the oldest player on the field at 37 years of age.

    So Brett Maher was asked to kick a 52-yard field goal at the buzzer. The kick hooked late, hitting the left upright as the FedEx Field crowd started screaming. It ended Maher’s streak of 16 consecutive made field goals.

    What do five yards count for in a football game? How do we weigh a bizarre penalty against a decision not to challenge the defense once late in a bid to win the game?

    Dallas moves into the bye week 0-4 on the road and stuck in a proverbial maze, trying to find answers.

    “I wouldn’t say it was the same as our past road games and the struggles that we’ve had,” Prescott said. “I think we did a decent job of communicating, but we just were stepping on our own foot. It had nothing to do with being on the road or anywhere. We were just getting penalties, self-inflicting errors that we weren’t giving ourselves a chance.”

    Much like the head coach.

    ___________________________________

    Please write more articles like this, Calvin.
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  2. #2
    Senior Member Simpleton's Avatar
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    This was definitely Prescott's best game on the road so far but of course there were a myriad of other issues that stunted the offense, to go with a handful of similar issues from Prescott and then the cherry on top from our estrogen-laced HC at the end.

    That's what you call a royal flush I believe.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ravidubey's Avatar
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    I liked that Prescott was able to uncover what was working— Beasely again— down the stretch to drive to tie/win the game.

    He’s a good QB, just not great.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mschmidt64's Avatar
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    I'm not willing to say Prescott is a good QB.

    I hope he is. But so far this season he hasn't been. The game against the Redskins where he was able to put up a whopping 17 points but also had two turnovers isn't really evidence in his favor either.

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  6. #5
    Senior Member Chocolate Lab's Avatar
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    I thought Washington relaxed after the Prescott fumble-six to make it 20-10, thinking they just had to play clock ball to win, and played too soft allowing a bunch of those completions at the end. We've seen that happen a thousand times over the years. I'd give Dak a lot more credit if he'd played well from the start, but he didn't.
    2014=2009, 2015=2010?

    The Garrett Song

  7. #6
    Senior Member Cowboysrock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mschmidt64 View Post
    I'm not willing to say Prescott is a good QB.

    I hope he is. But so far this season he hasn't been. The game against the Redskins where he was able to put up a whopping 17 points but also had two turnovers isn't really evidence in his favor either.
    The fumbles are on Dak.

    Other than those he played well against the Skins. He has definitely performed better as the season has gone on but he needs to continue with those strides.

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  9. #7
    Senior Member Genghis Khan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mschmidt64 View Post
    I'm not willing to say Prescott is a good QB.

    I hope he is. But so far this season he hasn't been. The game against the Redskins where he was able to put up a whopping 17 points but also had two turnovers isn't really evidence in his favor either.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chocolate Lab View Post
    I thought Washington relaxed after the Prescott fumble-six to make it 20-10, thinking they just had to play clock ball to win, and played too soft allowing a bunch of those completions at the end. We've seen that happen a thousand times over the years. I'd give Dak a lot more credit if he'd played well from the start, but he didn't.
    This is where I'm at.

  10. #8
    Senior Member Simpleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chocolate Lab View Post
    I thought Washington relaxed after the Prescott fumble-six to make it 20-10, thinking they just had to play clock ball to win, and played too soft allowing a bunch of those completions at the end. We've seen that happen a thousand times over the years. I'd give Dak a lot more credit if he'd played well from the start, but he didn't.
    I agree that their defense relaxed after that point but outside of the fumble in the 4th he played well I thought. To be fair, the fumble ended the game, but prior to that Prescott made some strong throws and kept the offense alive despite Elliott and the running game doing absolutely nothing, and the OL killing drives with penalties basically once a quarter.

    The strip sack sequence was actually the perfect example of how the OL killed the offense all game. It was 3rd and 5 or 6 I believe, Prescott hits Beasley for a 15-20 yard gain, gets called back by a holding on Williams and 1st and 10 at the 30-35 turns into 3rd and 15 inside the 10.

  11. #9
    Senior Member Cowboysrock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simpleton View Post
    I agree that their defense relaxed after that point but outside of the fumble in the 4th he played well I thought. To be fair, the fumble ended the game, but prior to that Prescott made some strong throws and kept the offense alive despite Elliott and the running game doing absolutely nothing, and the OL killing drives with penalties basically once a quarter.

    The strip sack sequence was actually the perfect example of how the OL killed the offense all game. It was 3rd and 5 or 6 I believe, Prescott hits Beasley for a 15-20 yard gain, gets called back by a holding on Williams and 1st and 10 at the 30-35 turns into 3rd and 15 inside the 10.
    Heck the play before the fumble Dak threaded a beautiful pass to Beasley for a big gain. The holding penalty by Williams on the play though is what backed us up instead and put us in a bad position.

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  13. #10
    Senior Member mschmidt64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cowboysrock55 View Post
    The fumbles are on Dak.

    Other than those he played well against the Skins. He has definitely performed better as the season has gone on but he needs to continue with those strides.
    He needs to put up more points.

    Which will come if he can throw for 270 every week.

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