courtesy @49ers on Twitter

The Cowboys’ upset loss against 49ers

The events that led the Cowboys to their playoff loss, explained by sports writer Daryl Turner

There’s a saying by Cowboys fans that goes, “Win, Lose, or Tie I’m a Cowboys fan till I die,” and after the last game of the season, some of the fans might be rethinking that chant of theirs. The Dallas Cowboys (akaAmerica’s Team) found a way to lose their first playoff game of the season against an inferior San Francisco 49ers team—even with home-field advantage.

The game ended with San Francisco on top with a score of 23 to 17 and a heavily unpleasant reaction from the Cowboy fans that attended the game. Fans became unruly and wayward when the officials began to make their way back into the tunnels, and the fans started launching all types of debris from the stands at the officials, almost hitting some of the players at the same time.

The Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott had choice words for the fans, at first thinking that they were throwing the debris at his teammates. He was recorded at a press conference saying, “It’s sad… you’re talking about a team, you’re talking about men who come out there each and every day of their lives and give everything to the sport.” He goes on to say that he understands what fans are and what they mean to the game but that doesn’t excuse them from being so harsh and critical to players that try their hardest to succeed every day. Concluding that statement a reporter clarified that the fans were throwing the debris at the officials in which Dak replied by saying, “Credit to them then” and then he later apologized for that statement on Twitter.

All of this stemmed from a crazy ending to the game that cost the ‘Boys their season. The season was one of the best the Cowboys had in years, with quarterback Dak Prescott coming back after a horrific ankle injury and leading the offense to become one of the best in the league in both scoring and yardage totals. With great receivers like Amari Cooper and Ceedee Lamb having amazing seasons and running backs like Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard making the most of their opportunities, the offense was very potent throughout the season.

While the offense was clicking, the defense also became elite. With the addition of Micah Parsons (Defensive Rookie of the Year) to the linebacker position with a progressively better Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys’ defense played phenomenally this season. Cornerback Trevon Diggs ended the season with a total of 10 interceptions—leading the league. Dominating the league in takeaways and creating havoc every game, the Cowboys’ defense was very legitimate during the season.
Considering their skill, it’s still difficult to believe the Cowboys were eliminated by a subpar 49ers team. However, several factors led to the Cowboys sitting at home watching others compete for the Lombardi. Number one: penalties. The Cowboys had fourteen penalties in the game against the 49ers, and I’ll repeat that just in case you missed it, the Cowboys had FOURTEEN penalties in ONE game—a playoff game at that. There are teams that can go almost three or four games without that many penalties altogether, so to say penalties cost the Cowboys this game would be an overwhelmingly strong understatement. According to an article by Jeff Kerr, “The Cowboys tied the NFL record for the most penalties by any team in a playoff game” and they also finished with 127 penalties on the season. As sports analyst/journalist and forever Cowboy hater Stephen A Smith would say, “This [expletive] is straight-up blasphemous and disgraceful” amongst other things.

The infamous run play call in the closing seconds of the game led to their loss. The Cowboys capitalized on a poor play by San Francisco, ended up getting the ball back at the end of the game with 32 seconds left.Trailing by only a touchdown, they needed only a touchdown and a point after to win the game. Starting from their own 20-yard line, they made their way down the field gaining first down after first down while simultaneously stopping the clock by getting out of bounds, seemingly getting closer and closer to a Cowboys win.

With 18 seconds left on the clock and the Cowboys on the 50-yard line, Dak Prescott made a throw to the sideline to their tight end who caught it, got out of bounds, but ended up short of the first down marker by a yard. Now, it was second down and they were 41 yards away from the endzone with no timeouts and 14 seconds left on the clock—ironically the same amount of penalties they had. Coach Mike Mcarthy made an executive decision to call a draw play up the middle. A draw play is designed for everybody to fake like it’s a pass for about one or two seconds and then the quarterback runs the ball straight up the middle for a big gain. When Dak ran the ball up the middle he had gotten an easy 15 yards, slid down and had little time to spare, but unfortunately that time dwindled down faster than anyone would’ve thought.

In the moments after Dak had slid, he got up, ran to his center, gave him the football and then he and the referee ran straight into each other. Dak was supposed to give the ball to the ref originally instead of the center, because the official always has to touch the ball before it’s snapped in order to officially put the ball in play. So, all those little collisions and confusions ended up leaving the Cowboys with no time to snap the ball and that’s how the game and their terrific season ended for them.

Some people have blamed coach Mike Mccarthy for this blunder of a loss, some have blamed Dak and others have blamed it on the ref and officials, but ultimately none of that matters. They lost and will have to try again next year. According to Todd Archer, an ESPN staff writer, the executive vice president of the Cowboys Stephen Jones has said the words “absolutely” and “very confident” when asked about coach Mike McCarthy’s return to the team next year.

To all the Cowboys fans out there, even if the defensive coordinator Dan Quinn or the offensive coordinator Kellen Moore find a new team and move away, coach McCarthy is still planning to stay and will try to hopefully rectify everything bad that happened this year for your team. With that being said, don’t change on America’s team now, remember, “Win, Lose, or Tie, I’m a Cowboys fan till I die.”

Post Author: Daryl Turner