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#pounditSaturday, March 25, 2023

Cowboys make embarrassing mistake after pulling off fake

Mike McCarthy upset

The Dallas Cowboys’ performance in Sunday’s NFC Wild Card game was essentially summed up by one sequence in the fourth quarter.

The Cowboys were trailing the San Francisco 49ers 23-7 early in the fourth quarter and faced a 4th and 5 from their own 48-yard line. Dallas sent out its punt team, much to the frustration of the crowd, but it turned out to be a fake. The play succeeded, with punter Bryan Anger finding cornerback C.J. Goodwin for a 16-yard reception and a first down.

Instead of building on that momentum, the Cowboys shot themselves in the foot after the conversion. The special teams unit initially remained on the field on first down in an apparent effort to get the 49ers to burn a timeout. When that didn’t happen, the Cowboys rushed the special teams unit off the field with about 20 seconds left on the play clock. The offense got on the field, but were unable to get set and snap the ball in time, resulting in a delay of game penalty.

Some were quick to blame the officials for the delay of game, as the Cowboys essentially were not allowed to snap the ball. However, the referees were obligated to allow the 49ers to make their own defensive substitutions after the Cowboys made their.

FOX Sports analyst Emmanuel Acho also pointed out that Goodwin actually slowed the Cowboys down by getting off the field late because he was too busy talking trash.

Whatever happened did not go according to plan. Head coach Mike McCarthy’s reaction was priceless.

Blaming the referees becomes much more difficult when the Cowboys wasted half the play clock trying to goad the 49ers into using a timeout. Even if they’d succeeded, the reward wasn’t even that great. The 49ers led by 16 points at the time. Their timeouts simply didn’t matter that much. The extra time the Cowboys burned, plus the five-yard loss on the delay of game penalty that came about as a result, would have been far more valuable. The entire sequence came across as the Cowboys being entirely too cute.

McCarthy’s game management has sometimes been criticized, and there were reports that his job might not be totally safe in the event of an early playoff exit. If there’s any truth to that, this will not have done much to help his case.


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