Dec 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett calls a play during the second quarter of the game against the Green Bay Packers at AT
There are losses. There are really bad losses. There are excruciatingly painful losses.
And then, there is what happened to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.
The Cowboys couldn’t hold a 23-point halftime lead against veteran journeyman quarterback Matt Flynn and the Green Bay Packers, falling 37-36.
When you blow a 23-point lead, rarely does anyone escape blame and Sunday night’s game was certainly no different.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo tossed two late interceptions.
The Cowboys defense allowed five second-half touchdowns.
The players on the field didn’t execute.
But neither did the coaches.
More so than any other time during his head coaching tenure, Jason Garrett showed that he is not qualified for his job.
While it remains something of a mystery as to who is actually calling the Cowboys plays, almost no one believes that Garrett isn’t heavily involved somewhere in the process.
Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan might be sending the calls down from the booth, but it is Garrett who is sending the calls to his quarterback on the field. And on Sunday night, those calls cost the Cowboys the game as much as any mistake by the players on the field.
With a 26-3 lead, the Cowboys called 21 pass plays and 7 run plays. In a game in which you never trailed until the very end, with your running back averaging 7 yards per carry, there is absolutely no excuse, whatsoever, for constantly putting the ball in the air.
The complete and utter mismanagement of a very winnable game should be more disturbing to Cowboys fans than anything that any player did on the field.
Perhaps even more concerning is the post-game performance of the Cowboys offensive play-calling brain trust.
Garrett almost immediately pointed out that, on Romo’s first interception, the play that was called was actually a run, with a pass option, and Romo made the decision to pass. In fairness, Romo admitted to the same thing.
But this isn’t about who was right and who was wrong on that particular play.
In the exact same situation, can you see Patriots coach Bill Belichick telling the media that his quarterback was to blame? Absolutely not. That’s not a move that a leader of men makes.
Garrett took the easy road out, deflected blame, and hung his quarterback out to dry.
But, at least Garrett talked to the media. His partner in crime, Callahan, declined to even speak to the media.
Romo, and well as Romo’s target on his second interception, wide receiver Cole Beasley, both stood up and answered to the media onslaught. Both took responsibility (one of them unfairly, since both of them couldn’t have been at fault).
Quite the contrast from the childish and evasive actions of the two men who are supposed to be the “leaders” of the offense and the team.
Arguably, the actions of Garrett and Callahan following the game were more despicable than anything that actually happened during the game itself.
It’s unlikely (if not impossible) that wholesale changes on the coaching staff will be made, with the team still very much alive in the playoff race. But, if there was ever a time that it could be justified, you would have to imagine this is it.
It’s an emotional night and an emotional time for Cowboys fans. Fans are angry. Fans are upset. Fans want changes. So, take what is said and written within only hours of one of the most crushing defeats in recent memory with a grain of salt.
But, if Garrett and his staff are eventually fired, even if it’s not immediately following this loss, it’s likely that December 15 was truly the night that ended Jason Garrett’s career as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.