The Dallas Cowboys season has come to an end, in what was an absolute dumpster fire of a game, with a 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was completely outcoached and it looked like his team was unprepared to play.
The Cowboys continued to commit stupid penalty after stupid penalty and in no way did they deserve to win this football game. There needs to be an overhaul either within the coaching staff or players to change the culture in Dallas. Too often they play poorly in big games and it continues to show up year after year.
In what was a terrible performance, the Cowboys committed plenty of mistakes. Here are the 3 key mistakes that effectively ended their season.
3. Feeding Ezekiel Elliott Over Tony Pollard
The Cowboys have struggled to run the ball consistently for months now, yet they continue to turn around and hand it to Ezekiel Elliott. It came out after the game that Elliott was playing with a partially torn PCL. If that was indeed the case, why would the Cowboys keep playing him over Tony Pollard?
It does not make any sense to give Elliott 12 carries and Pollard only four. Pollard is much more explosive with the ball and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore had to do a better job of getting the ball to Pollard in space.
Maybe Pollard was still hindered from the foot injury that kept him out of Week 18, but he was a full participant in practice and should have been more involved in the offense. Pollard finished the game with 6 touches (4 rushes, 2 receptions) for 26 yards. While Zeke had 13 touches for 31 yards.
It was just another example of coaching malpractice in this game that Pollard was not more involved. Elliott is a great pass-blocker, but when it comes to touches he should have been behind Pollard in that category.