JACKSONVILLE – Wow, where do we start with this one?
Then again, does it even matter about the launch? Apparently not on this day. The Cowboys couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, going on a 14-0 run, eventually going up by 17 points…only to have it fall apart at the end.
If you’ve seen this before, it was about a month ago when the Cowboys blew a lead in Green Bay and lost in overtime.
But why does this hurt worse? Well, that’s because it’s not Aaron Rodgers on the other side, and it’s not historic Lambeau Field.
No, you lost to Trevor Lawrence in a place called Jacksonville, in a stadium that looked like a home game. And not only that, you were playing choke.
Forget the numbers. or even 17, the lead they had in the third quarter.
The number that catches my eye is 10. And I’m talking yards. You needed TEN yards to win this game. And I understand you’re not going to be that wide open with play calls because you’re trying to run out the clock.
Well, I think they did.
Isn’t that what it’s called? THE CLOCK IS TICKING. I’ve never actually heard anyone say.Hey, we’ve got a lead here. All we need to do is run out the clock and we’ll win.”
Still, the Cowboys chose not to run out the clock, or at least force the Jaguars to run out timeouts.
That’s all they had to do and I think they win this game 34-31 in regulation.
It’s third-and-10 at the Dallas 38-yard line. just two plays after they made a huge fumble with Lawrence in the open field. The Cowboys ran it twice for a total of no yards, but the Jagers burned their first two timeouts.
But why? Why get cute and try to win the game with a touchdown pass to Noah Brown? Sure, Brown had a great day up to that point with two touchdowns, but I don’t think I’d want to throw it to Randy Moss at that point in the game.
To me, this is another example of why I never agree with the term “play to win” vs “play not to lose”. I have said it 100 times, I will say it 100 times. To me they are exactly the same thing. You either play to win or you play not to lose based on your aggressiveness from time to time.
But then it’s not about throwing the ball deep to Brown on a 50-50 ball, hoping they call pass interference, which they really didn’t call much all game.
Just run the ball again. It doesn’t have to be average. It could be a stretch game with Tony Pollard where he can break free and crack one. Just hold the clock and force timing.
The Jaguars would get the ball with about 1:00 to play and would need 30-40 yards for a field goal. But it’s different when you don’t have timeouts.
You don’t try as many crossing routes and it seems like you have to force the ball to the rim. What it does is keep things short and make it much, much harder to nickel-and-dive down.
And what happened? The Jags kept that timeout until the end, using it after a pass to Zay Jones that set up the game-tying field goal.
Of course, we can talk about Dak Prescott’s interception in the third quarter that led to the Jags’ game-changing touchdown. Or the last pass of the game that came back from Brown and fell into the hands of Rayshon Jenkins for a touchdown. I mean, they would’ve lost on a field goal anyway, but I guess a block on the back doesn’t count in overtime. Duck seemed to take a nice little kick on the back of the bench.
But the Cowboys had their chances to win this game, like 20 of them, and didn’t take them.
They really only have themselves to blame for this second half debacle. And the thing is, they didn’t just lose in the second half or overtime, but little moments along the way.
The irony of this game to me is that they got a little conservative in the third quarter and settled for field goals. But as the game wore on, when they needed to get the Jags out of timeouts, they chose to be too aggressive and it cost them.
Yes, the Cowboys lost the game in the final game. But it was too many plays during the game that led to this ugly ending.