After a rough offensive performance for the bulk of the ball game, the Dallas Cowboys managed to score a touchdown and complete a two-point conversion to bring the score to 25-22 with just under five minutes to go. It looked like Dallas could maybe make a comeback happen, if only they could stop the Arizona Cardinals offense.
Thanks to a lot of skill and excellent playcalling, Kyler Murray and the Cardinals continued to rush down the field.
On a 1st & 10 play at Dallas’ 35-yard line with just under three minutes to go, running back Chase Edmonds rushed for six yards but opted to stay in bounds so the clock would continue to run. While trying to stay in bounds, DeMarcus Lawrence tackled Edmonds near the sideline and appeared to force a fumble before Edmonds’ knee hit the ground. The refs ruled the running back down by contact – no fumble.
There was a clear recovery by the Cowboys’ defense, which had fans and players screaming for a challenge flag to be thrown. However, with no timeouts left to give, head coach Mike McCarthy couldn’t throw the flag.
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy’s poor usage of timeouts potentially cost Dallas the game
Let’s take you back to one of the instances in which McCarthy decided to use a timeout. Back in the third quarter, the Cardinals had 4th & 5 on the Cowboys’ eight-yard line. This is where Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury proved his coaching prowess — or simply created chaos.
Kingsbury sent out both kicker Matt Prater and quarterback Kyler Murray in order to confuse the Cowboys as to whether they were kicking a field goal or not. With Dallas’ defense in clear disarray, McCarthy called a soft timeout. That was one timeout down the drain for the second half.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter, and McCarthy’s team has clawed its way back to be in a situation to stage a comeback. His defense makes a play to potentially get them the ball back to win the game and the head coach can’t even throw a challenge flag.
Since coaches must have a timeout to challenge a play, the Cowboys were left with zero options. Sure. There’s no saying Dallas would have won if they get the ball back, but the defense at least went out there and made a play to give the offense a chance. But to no avail.
All the Cardinals had to do after the “non-fumble” was get a first down and take a knee, which they easily did. The Cowboys fell to a formidable NFC opponent 25-22. This inability to challenge was far from the only reason the Cowboys lost this game, but it did seem to be the final dagger. The Cowboys now drop to the No. 4 seed in the NFC standings, and Murray remains undefeated in AT&T Stadium.