Cowboys Snatch Defeat From Victory Once Again

5 of 5

Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

5.  Jason Garrett – I wanted to blame Jason Garrett for clock management at the end, but in the final analysis what he did probably didn’t matter.  If he had run a play instead of kicking the FG when it was fourth down and 5 at the Detroit 26 with1:14 left in the game, the clock would have stopped with the change in possession any way.  What we’ll never know is if the Cowboys had picked up the first down, would they have been able to eat the rest of the clock.  A 5-yard play on 4th down is definitely achievable.  Instead, Bailey kicked what turned out to be a meaningless FG because all it meant was that the Lions would have to score a TD.  Not kicking the FG might have meant you end up in overtime, but that at least gives you more of a chance than trailing by one point with :12 left.  Or, if the defense couldn’t produce a stop you lose anyway by four points instead of one.  As it was after the kickoff, the Lions went 80 yards in :50 to score.  What difference would it have made if they only had to go 74 yards?  Garrett went the conservative route but he would have been excoriated either way.  Your defense should be able to stop a team with a minute left on the clock.  But, they hadn’t stopped them for the entire fourth quarter.  I think I would have run a play.

But, I do have to question the kickoff in that situation.  Why in the world would you go ahead and kick it out of the end zone.  For all I know, Bailey was told to kick it short and just didn’t execute but had he kicked it short and forced the Lions to handle the ball, it would have burned precious time off the clock.  It was like giving them an extra time out to kick it out of the end zone there and it cost the Cowboys dearly.  Knowing the Lions had to score a touchdown, giving them better field position by squib kicking it really wouldn’t have mattered and the time it would have taken might have been the difference.  Just look at the Lions’ kickoff after their last score – squib kick picked up by a reserve linebacker who used up 5 of the 12 seconds remaining lumbering over to get out of bounds.  Smart play by Detroit.  One we apparently couldn’t execute.

In the end, no matter who is to blame for this crushing loss, the Cowboys are who their record says they are – a .500 team.  We had a chance to extend our NFC East lead and serve notice to the NFL that this year’s version of the Cowboys is different.  Instead, we slipped back into mediocrity and despite losses by the Eagles and the Redskins have now brought every team in the division back in the hunt.  With the Cowboys leading the division at 4-4 and 8 games left to play, not even the Giants are out of the race if they can put together another one of their patented late season rallies.  I’m not sure any team really wants to win the division – unfortunate that someone will and will be an early out in the playoffs.  go cowboys (lack of emphasis intentional – 8-8 here we come!)  I wonder who our next head coach will be?