The Dallas Cowboys made more head-scratching decisions in their latest disappointing loss on Sunday, but Jason Garrett insists they were calculated and not the result of disorganization.
The Cowboys had the ball at the Philadelphia Eagles’ 23-yard line trailing 17-9 with 1:26 left in the game. After Prescott threw an incomplete pass intended for Amari Cooper on third down, both Cooper and Randall Cobb were subbed out of the game for 4th-and-8. Cobb had been effective in the game prior to that with five catches for 73 yards, and many wondered if Cooper was hurt. He said he was not.
“The coaches took me out,” Cooper told reporters after the game, via David Helman of Cowboys.com. “I just ran a deep ball and they took me out.”
In an interview on 105.3 The Fan Monday morning, Garrett confirmed that Cooper was pulled off the field. He said the Cowboys intentionally went with a two-tight end set for the play and got the look they wanted but failed to execute.
Didn’t use timeout on the call because they felt good about the decision there. On Amari Cooper’s health: “everyone’s banged up this time of year” https://t.co/QiZxKE5s1c
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) December 23, 2019
While that may reflect poorly on offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, it certainly doesn’t help Garrett’s cause. It’s hard to justify not having two of your top receivers on the field for a must-convert 4th-and-8, though questionable decisions have become the norm for Garrett in what will likely be his final season in Dallas.
Garrett also decided not to go for it late in the game on 4th-and-1 when he punted and 4th-and-4 when he opted for a field goal. The Cowboys could have clinched the NFC East with a win, and now they need two things to happen in Week 17 in order to make the playoffs. Garrett could, in theory, save his job if Dallas gets into the postseason and makes a run, but there’s no reason to expect that to happen at this point.