Even a Dallas Cowboys win isn't enough to spare Mike McCarthy. Already under siege after another unconvincing performance from the Cowboys offense, fans collectively lost whatever patience they had left with the head coach after his cowardly clock management to end the first half vs the Chargers on Monday night.
With a timeout to spare and eight seconds left on the clock following a short completion to Tony Pollard in the red zone, McCarthy bizarrely decided to waste five precious seconds and settle for a short field goal.
At the Chargers 14-yard line, the Cowboys had at least one shot at the end zone. With Dak Prescott throwing dimes all over Los Angeles' secondary, McCarthy opted to let the clock trickle down to three seconds before sending out Brandon Aubrey.
With eight seconds, a timeout remaining and a $40 million QB running the offense. It's coaching cowardice and malpractice and McCarthy gave a predictably laughable excuse postgame.
Cowboys' Mike McCarthy under fire for clock management to end first half vs LA Chargers
"We just decided to play it safe. ...I just felt the way the game was going — I think we had a holding penalty earlier on the series. I just wanted to make sure we got the points and get out of there. "- Mike McCarthy
Fire this quote into the sun. Penalties were a problem for Dallas all game, but McCarthy told on himself here because penalties are a coaching issue. Regardless, having prior penalties dictate leaving points on the scoreboard in a close game is embarrassing. Those four points loomed large down the stretch with the Cowboys clinging to a 20-17 lead as the Chargers got the ball back late with a chance to win.
Even the referees were stunned by McCarthy's decision. They double-checked with the head coach to make sure he wanted to save his last timeout. The ESPN broadcast even caught McCarthy asking the refs, "Why'd you stop the clock?"
Lip reading doesn't get much easier than that.
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman didn't offer an explanation before halftime. Coming out of the break, though, the broadcast team made it known that McCarthy purposefully denied the Cowboys a shot at the end zone inside the red zone with two timeouts in his back pocket and eight seconds left.
There's no point showing the tweets, but multiple Cowboys social media accounts called for McCarthy's job after this gaffe. The head coach obviously shouldn't lose his job over this, but a decision like that won't do him any favors with the organization. Scoreboard notwithstanding, you can't be that much of a coward in the NFL.
The Cowboys won in spite of their head coach. They won because Dak Prescott outplayed Justin Herbert and the defense's best players -- namely Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence and Stephon Gilmore -- made big plays late.
That's a big concern for this season's bigger picture.