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#pounditMonday, September 21, 2020

Jason Garrett’s conservative approach costs Cowboys in overtime

Jason Garrett

Last week Frank Reich played for the win against the Houston Texans, but his bold move did not pay off. This week, Jason Garrett played for the tie against the Houston Texans, and his conservative approach did not pay off either.

Garrett opted to punt on 4th-and-1 from the Houston 42 with 5:40 to go in overtime and got burned.

The Cowboys began overtime with the ball and crossed midfield into Houston territory. They had a 3rd-and-1 from the Houston 42 and gave an inside handoff to Ezekiel Elliott from the shotgun, which got stuffed for no gain. The Cowboys could have tried it again but decided to punt instead. Jason Garrett could be seen saying on his headset, “we have to punt this, don’t we?” to the people with whom he was communicating.

Sure enough, Dallas punted to the Houston 10, giving the Texans a long field. Houston broke a big 49-yard play thanks to DeAndre Hopkins that took them into field goal range. They won the game on a 36-yard field goal.

Garrett was probably thinking that they could put the Texans deep into their territory and if they got a defensive stop, they would have great field position to set up a winning field goal towards the end of the extra period. Instead, they surrendered the ball to Houston, knowing that the next score would win.

We didn’t like Reich’s call to go for it and didn’t like Garrett’s call to punt. The two situations were different. The Colts had the ball in their territory and a 4th-and-4. There were also around 30 seconds left. So in that case, not converting would have resulted in almost a guaranteed loss, whereas punting would have likely brought a tie. And even if they did convert, they still would have had to make more plays with time expiring and kick a field goal to win. None of that would have been easy.

In this situation, the Cowboys were on Houston’s side of the field and had a much more favorable situation to convert — 4th-and-1 — and more time left. They should have either QB sneaked with Dak Prescott or given the ball to Elliott again. Their likelihood of converting that was fairly high. They would have been extremely well set up to take a lead with a field goal, or to potentially end the game with a touchdown after converting. The downside was the Texans would have been in a good position to set up a field goal themselves had they stopped Dallas.

The Cowboys’ leadership will probably be highly dissatisfied with Garrett after that call.

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