The Dallas Cowboys capitulated in the waning moments of their Divisional Round loss against the San Francisco 49ers.
Between Dak Prescott nearly taking a safety, Dalton Schultz failing to turn upfield as he stepped out of bounds to stop the clock, and Schultz not being able to complete a catch near the sidelines on third down, the Cowboys shot themselves in the foot repeatedly needing a touchdown to tie the game.
Amazingly, though, those near-gaffes paled in comparison to the final play of regulation. With the ball deep inside their own territory, the Cowboys came out in a formation that included Ezekiel Elliott under center to hike the ball to Prescott, and the receivers and linemen lined up on opposite sides of the field.
The execution was disastrous.
What had the appearance of a thrilling hook and ladder resulted in a quick pass to KaVontae Turpin, who swiftly got lit up by 49ers defender Jimmie Ward to end the game before Turpin could even hand the ball to a teammate.
It’ll go down as an all-time blunder, and makes what was overall a hard-fought loss against an elite football team look like an embarrassment.
3 things you might’ve missed on the Cowboys disastrous final play vs 49ers.
There’s a lot to unpack here. So much so that there are some things Cowboys (and 49ers) fans might’ve missed in the madness. Keep in mind San Francisco took a timeout after they got a glimpse of Dallas’ wacky formation, so Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore got two tries to relay the plan to their players.
3. Ezekiel Elliott getting bulldozed
The people demand an explanation as to why Elliott was lined up as the center. Was there a plan to get him the ball at some point in the lateral chaos? Zeke had zero burst in his legs for several weeks leading into Sunday, so logic says the Cowboys wanted him to fend off any oncoming pass rushers.
After all, Zeke is as good as they come at the RB position in pass protection. The only problem? Elliott put forth a sorry effort trying to block 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who put Elliott on his behind without breaking a sweat.
Doesn’t get worse than that … or does it?
2. Ineligible offensive linemen spectating
What’s worse? The fact every one of Dallas’ offensive linemen on this play turned out to be useless, or that Prescott’s pass to Turpin went to the middle of the field; in the opposite direction of where the lineman were positioned?
Either way, the Cowboys OL on the top of the screen personified traffic cones, while those at the bottom of the screen broke into a light jog hoping to lay an open field block on a 49ers defender. They never got that chance.
1. KaVontae Turpin trying to lateral from the ground
If you turned your tv off the second Turpin was tackled, or simply held your head in disgust, you might’ve missed the Cowboys return specialist trying to lateral the ball from the ground. He held the ball over his head seemingly before reality settled in that he was down by contact … you know after getting tackled.
We’re not going to hammer Turpin for keeping the faith until the last possible second, even as the game effectively ended. It was simply the perfect capper to a trifecta of horrors for the Cowboys.
Make that two seasons in a row that have ended on absolutely awful play-calls from the coaching staff. That’s not to say this play is the reason Dallas lost, but man, what a terrible way to bow out of the playoffs and go into the offseason.