Jason Garrett takes responsibility for bizarre Tavon Austin fair catch
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett is taking responsibility for a strange decision in the final 30 seconds of Sunday’s game that may have cost his team.
Down 28-24 to the Minnesota Vikings with under 30 seconds left, punt returner Tavon Austin bizarrely called for a fair catch at his own 46. Austin did this in spite of the fact that there were no Vikings players within 15 yards of him, and he could likely have gotten past midfield, if not further, had he tried to return the punt. That would have set up an easier drive for quarterback Dak Prescott.
If you have the opportunity to fair catch a punt already in Hail Mary range so you can save enough time to give yourself 3 quick passes to your backup tight end for a total of 9 yards so instead of a Hail Mary you can throw a slightly shorter Hail Mary, you have to take it, no? pic.twitter.com/xO3RMvX4dP
— Scott Bell (@ScottBellDMN) November 11, 2019
After the game, Austin essentially threw the coaching staff under the bus.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) November 11, 2019
On Monday, Garrett took the blame, saying they’d poorly communicated to Austin what he was supposed to do on the punt.
Jason Garrett said they didn't communicate well enough to to Tavon Austin on the final punt. He was not told to fair catch automatically. He could have use judgement to make a play going north and south
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) November 11, 2019
In fairness to Garrett, Austin called fair catch early, so it’s entirely possible the Vikings would have closed him down more quickly if they thought there was a chance of a return. Still, it’s an awful look, and a clear sign of confusion in the ranks. And it’s probably not going to make owner Jerry Jones happy, since he already had some grave concerns about what the defeat could mean in the long-term.