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#pounditThursday, May 19, 2022

Referee Ramon George had trouble spotting ball on final play for Cowboys

Referee Ramon George collides

The Dallas Cowboys have nobody but themselves to blame for their 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card game on Sunday. But some of their crazed fans may have it out for referee Ramon George over the way the game ended.

The Cowboys inexplicably decided to run a quarterback draw up the middle with 14 seconds left in their game against the Niners despite not having any timeouts left (video here). The playcall was always going to be risky because so many things have to go right in order to get a spike off after the play ends.

There are players from both teams that have to get lined up, and then the official has to set the ball before the offense can spike it. In Sunday’s case, George didn’t help.

George tried making his way down the field but then ran into Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offensive line while trying to set the ball for the spike.

Every second mattered, so George’s inability to get to the ball kept the Cowboys from being able to spike. But that is 100 percent Dallas’ fault.

There is always traffic around the ball when trying to hurry up for a spike. Between getting your players set, and the opposing players set, and the officials in place, you’re taking a huge gamble, and the offense does not receive the benefit of the doubt when time is ticking.

Another big issue is that Prescott didn’t help Dallas’ situation. He tried handing the ball to his center to set it up, but he really should have been trying to hand it to the official; the ball cannot be snapped without the official setting it first.

Ultimately, if you’re going to try and risk a run with no timeouts left before killing the clock with a spike, you need to give yourself at least 20 seconds to be safe. Dallas did not, and that’s why their season ended on that play. Between this play and their 14 penalties, the Cowboys’ mistakes were very much self-inflicted.

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