Report breaks down what happened with Cowboys’ costly final play call
The Dallas Cowboys saw their season end on a questionable play call in their Wild Card loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, and many have wondered who actually made the decision. We now have an answer.
The Cowboys got the ball trailing 23-17 with 32 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. They needed to go 80 yards for the winning touchdown, and they reached the San Francisco 41-yard line with three straight completions. They then called a quarterback draw for Dak Prescott despite having no timeouts left. Prescott rushed for 17 yards, but the officials were unable to spot the ball in time for a spike (video here). Time expired before the Cowboys could run another play.
According to Michael Silver of NFL.com, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is the one who called the draw. Head coach Mike McCarthy agreed.
I'm told OC Kellen Moore called the QB run and Mike McCarthy was on the headset to OK it. Not either's finest hour. Dak should have checked off. I don't get any of it.
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) January 17, 2022
Silver said Prescott should have changed the play, which is unfair. The one thing Dak can possibly be criticized for is not getting down sooner on the run. However, you can’t blame him for running the play that was called in a situation where there was very little time remaining in the game.
McCarthy defended the play call after the game. He said the Cowboys had practiced it and expected more time to be put back on the clock after a review. There was no review, as the officials on the field determined that time had clearly expired. A referee had some trouble spotting the ball (video here), but that is part of the game and one of the risks the Cowboys took by running a draw.
Both McCarthy and Moore messed up. Prescott can try to blame the officials, but the reality is the Cowboys’ biggest wounds were self-inflicted.
Photo: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports