The postgame grades for every single player and coach should read, “F.”
That grade needs to be followed by two sentences written with a red Sharpie: “Come see me. Bring your playbook.”
What transpired on Sunday at AT&T Stadium is so ghastly and terrible not even Jerry Jones could spin his way out of his team’s latest postseason failure.
Leave it to noted philosopher Tony Romo to deliver the unvarnished truth about the state of his former NFL team.
During the CBS telecast of the Dallas Cowboys’ playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Romo said, “This is not a successful season if they lose this game.”
Even though he played for multiple seasons under coach Wade Phillips, who celebrated regular-season wins just like he did a playoff victory, Romo’s interpretation is the necessary truth.
With a 12-5 record, and a record-setting offense, the Dallas Cowboys set themselves up for a playoff run, and instead ended it after one game.
Don’t bother blaming the referees. Don’t blame the NFL. Don’t blame the stadium. Don’t blame the sun.
Blame the Dallas Cowboys. Blame their owner. Blame their GM. Blame their head coach. Blame his assistants. Blame the players.
The Dallas Cowboys should have at least won a playoff game, but instead they “penalized” their way right into the offseason with a display of consistent ineptitude, and a diet of disappointing play.
The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cowboys, 23-17, on Sunday at AT&T Stadium in the NFL wild card round to become the first road team to win a game this postseason.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he can't remember the last time he was this disappointed after a loss
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) January 17, 2022
Head coach Mike McCarthy may be a better version of Jason Garrett, but the results look the same. Some pretty good, followed by some inexplicably, smash-your-TV bad.
On Sunday, the Cowboys were whipped up front, even after the 49ers lost their best pass rusher, Nick Bosa, to a concussion near the end of the first half.
The $40 million quarterback played like he should be paid closer to $40 dollars. The high-dollar running back looks like toast. The offensive line was offensive.
The Cowboys finished the regular season as the most penalized team in the NFL. On Sunday, they were penalized 14 times for 89 yards. Those 89 yards are worth just about a touchdown, and probably accounted for a net of more than seven points.
As much as coaches want to say they don’t coach penalties, all of those yellow flags are a reflection of the head coach. McCarthy has to own that stat, as much as the players who are penalized.
“I don’t think you can explain it. You have to find a way to play more disciplined football,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said after the game.
Don’t bother arguing the specifics of this game. The Cowboys had a narrow opportunity to take the lead in the fourth quarter after falling behind 23-7, but that was a mirage.
It started in the first quarter, after the Cowboys fell behind 10-0 McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore opened their 88 oz. bottle of Stupid on the sidelines.
Facing a 3rd-and-16 from deep in their own end, quarterback Dak Prescott completed a pass over the middle to Cedrick Wilson for seven yards. Wilson then made a lateral attempt, and the ball went out of bounds for a fumble.
Then came the penalty party.
Early in the fourth quarter, punter Bryan Anger completed a 16-yard pass on a fake punt for a precious first down.
McCarthy then tried to pull an Arizona Cardinals, and trick the 49ers into either calling a timeout, or committing a penalty. Instead, the Cowboys were penalized for a delay of game.
And in the game’s final seconds, McCarthy and Moore had yet one more trick.
The Cowboys had no timeouts, and the ball at San Francisco 41-yard line with 14 seconds remaining.
Dak had a shot to set up one, maybe two, throws into the end zone for the win.
Instead, they called a draw play which ended with Dak reaching the 24-yard-line, and the clock running out before he could spike the ball.
McCarthy said he was told the refs would put time back on the clock, but that didn’t happen.
There was never enough time to run a play like that. The margin was so thin no explanation can justify that call.
Rather than prepare for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Bucs in the NFC’s divisional round, McCarthy and the Cowboys enter an offseason with an unexpected list of questions and concerns.
Coming off an NFC East title and 12 wins, don’t expect GM Jerry to do much.
No one can convince themselves “We’re close” better than Jerry, even if the final grades for every single player and coach should read in giant red ink, “F.”
Because, Tony Romo is right, this was not a successful season.