3 most disappointing Cowboys players from the 2021 season

Dec 26, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs the ball in the second quarter against the Washington Football Team at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 26, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs the ball in the second quarter against the Washington Football Team at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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Connor Williams, Dallas Cowboys
Connor Williams, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports) /

The great Michael Jordan once said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take” and that philosophy came true this past weekend for the Dallas Cowboys.

With 14 seconds remaining at the San Franciso 41-yard line, the Cowboys decided to run a quarterback draw to take one final shot for the win.  However, Dallas would never get the opportunity to do so.

When quarterback Dak Prescott slid down at the SF 24, the Cowboys were in scramble mode trying to spike the ball before time expired. Every Dallas player seemed to be set and ready to spike it, except for the referee, who has to touch the ball first before they can snap it.

As the referee bumped Prescott trying to spot the ball, the clock hit zero and it was too late for the Cowboys to snap it. America’s Team went home on which will probably be down as one of the worst ways to lose in Wild Card history.

Could the Cowboys have played better to not put themselves in that position?

Of course!

Could the Cowboys have not called a quarterback draw with 14 seconds remaining with no timeouts?

Of course!

Whether it was a good call or not, Dallas didn’t allow themselves to even have a shot at the end zone. Looking back at it, the Cowboys should have been a little bit smarter on the final play.

However, Dallas shouldn’t have really been in that spot in the first place. They shot themselves in the foot far too many times by virtue of penalties. Having 14 penalties in a playoff game is not a winning formula in the NFL. As a matter of fact, their 14 penalties were tied for the second-most in a playoff game in NFL history.

This team was extremely undisciplined all season long.  They ranked first in penalties this season with 127, which was also the fifth most in franchise history.

It’s a hard way to end a season for the Cowboys, as most fans thought, “This was our year.” However, once again, Dallas has fallen short.

This is also the 11th straight postseason appearance for the Cowboys without a conference championship appearance. This is in fact the longest streak by any team in NFL history.

In what was another disappointing season for America’s Team, these players really didn’t help the cause in 2021.

3 most disappointing Cowboys players in 2021.

3. Connor Williams (G)

Guard Connor Williams might arguably be not only the most disappointing Cowboys player but also the most disappointing linemen this season.

The Cowboys selected Williams in the second round of the 2018 draft out of Texas. He was highly regarded as one of the most prolific college athletes coming into the league. In that draft, he was the fourth guard taken behind Quenton Nelson (IND), Will Hernandez (NYG) and Braden Smith (IND).

Williams played three seasons at Texas and was solid for the Longhorns. PFF graded him over 82 in every season including 91.1 in his sophomore season (2016). During that season, he allowed just four pressures.

So, when the Cowboys drafted him with the 50th overall pick, they were getting a physical 6-foot-6 lineman who can compete.

The first couple of seasons were mediocre for Williams, as he was just getting used to the game. Then, in 2020, he had a very encouraging year, having just four penalties on the second-most snaps in the league.

Then, 2021 hit. It wasn’t all rough for the former Texas star. He did only give up one sack all season, so that could be a big reason why PFF graded him at 76.4, the best of his career.

However, take the rating with a grain of salt, as his penalties were just killers. Every time there was an offensive holding call, it was surely on Williams.

On the season including the postseason, he had 17 penalties,14 were accepted, and of those accepted, 11 were holding calls. The other three declined penalties were also holding calls. Among other linemen in the league, he led the league in holding penalties (14) and penalty yards (145 yards).

In the Wild Card matchup against the 49ers, Williams had two penalties: a holding call in the first quarter and a false start in the third.

In a prove-it year for him, the 24-year-old guard didn’t have an encouraging season by any means.