Randy Gregory lowlights show Cowboys DE committed uncalled holding penalties

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory (94) Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory (94) Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Any Dallas Cowboys fans who are still trying to make sense of the team’s playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, just stop. It’s not possible.

There’s no explaining why Ezekiel Elliott handled the bulk of the carries playing through a partially-torn PCL while Tony Pollard got just six touches. There’s no explaining why CeeDee Lamb, who admittedly looked a little overwhelmed by the moment, wasn’t peppered with targets against the 49ers’ man coverage.

And there’s no explaining why Mike McCarthy didn’t push back on Kellen Moore’s decision to run a QB draw with 14 seconds left and zero timeouts.

You know what else can’t be explained? Dallas being so undisciplined that they committed 14 penalties, eight of which negated a first down conversion or gifted San Francisco their own fresh set of downs.

Speaking of being undisciplined, can anyone explain why Randy Gregory felt compelled to tackle his blockers over shedding them?

What was Cowboys DE Randy Gregory’s plan against the 49ers?

Gregory was called for a pair of killer penalties in the game and he’s honestly lucky to only have walked away with two infractions.

These are pretty blatant penalties. Assuming Gregory didn’t completely lose his bearings in the heat of the moment, you have to think he was instructed to take out his blockers, right? What else would explain this behavior?

Whatever the plan was, it didn’t work. In fact, it might’ve cost the Cowboys a chance at getting the ball back with enough time on the clock that they wouldn’t have been pressured into running that awful quarterback draw.

On the third play in that clip, Gregory was called for a boneheaded holding penalty on 2nd & 9 with 1:38 left in the game. Instead of 3rd & 9 — Micah Parsons sealed the edge and Deebo Samuel proceeded to get gang-tackled — with one timeout left, the 49ers had a fresh set of downs with 1:31 left.

While the Cowboys forced a punt just a few plays later, they were forced to burn their final timeout, which saw valuable seconds come off the clock. As a result, Dak Prescott and Co. had to travel 80 yards in 32 seconds with zero timeouts.

The most frustrating part is that Gregory was effective when he wasn’t showing off his best wrestling moves. Over 41 snaps (63%), he finished with four tackles, two QB hits, four pressures and two hurries. Not bad for someone who was matched up against a future first-ballot Hall of Famer in Trent Williams.

Much like the Elliott and Pollard discourse and Lamb’s shocking lack of volume, we likely won’t get an explanation for Gregory’s erratic behavior, which flew in the face of everything we saw from him during the regular season.

That, my friends, is what we call organizational dysfunction. Until it’s fixed, the Cowboys aren’t winning anything with their core of stars.