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#pounditFriday, May 20, 2022

Cowboys cost themselves in playoffs with unreal 14 penalties

Mike McCarthy coaching the Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys suffered a heartbreaking playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but in many ways they had no one to blame but themselves.

The Cowboys fell just short in a 23-17 loss, but one stat stood out more than the rest. Dallas took an astonishing 14 penalties in the loss, totaling 89 yards. The 14 penalties tied a franchise record for a playoff game.

The flags started early, when defensive lineman Randy Gregory committed a neutral zone infraction on the first play from scrimmage. Several of the penalties essentially stopped Cowboys drives in their track. Perhaps the most damaging of them was a first quarter holding call that wiped out what would have been a 32-yard reception by CeeDee Lamb. Even the penalties that weren’t as harmful were pretty embarrassing, too.

Dallas’ final penalty was also a costly one. Gregory, again, committed a blatant hold with just over a minute and a half left to give the 49ers an automatic first down.

Without the penalty, the Cowboys would have had the chance to get off the field and get the ball back with over a minute left. Dallas still got the stop, but they instead had just 32 seconds to try to drive all the way downfield for a touchdown.

In games like this where the flags pile up, it can sometimes be the result of overzealous refereeing. That wasn’t the case here. The bulk of the calls that went against Dallas were blatant and impossible to ignore. Combine that with some very bizarre decisions, and you have a Cowboys team that mismanaged the game, lacked discipline, and deserved to lose.

Photo: Oct 3, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy on the field before the game against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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