For the second straight postseason, the Cowboys lost to the 49ers. For the second straight postseason, the game ended with a questionable offensive decision by Offense Expert Coach Mike McCarthy. But the idiosyncratic attempt to put on a Stanford band-style piece that never got off the ground won’t have serious consequences for the man who drafted it.
Asked by reporters after the 19-12 loss if the outcome changes anything for owner Jerry Jones about McCarthy’s status, Jones said, “No. No. No not at all.”
Last year’s wild card loss to the 49ers ended with a quarterback draft aimed at giving Dallas a realistic final shot in the end zone. But the execution failed to account for the fact that the umpire had to go through the quarterback and center to place the ball before it was snapped and prodded, ostensibly to stop the clock with at least one second left.
This year, instead of a Hail Mary (which had a very slim chance of success given that the game started 76 yards from paydirt), McCarthy had a unique formation aimed at kicking off a parade of side branches, with running back Ezekiel Elliott as the center and then, presumably, one of the men to get the ball as part of a series of hot potato pitches.
But Zeke was blown and receiver KaVontae Turpin was tackled almost immediately, before even one lateral attempt could be made. So no matter how it looked on the whiteboard, it was a disaster on the field.
Aside from the design and execution of the final play, the failure of coaching and attention to detail showed up twice on the drive, with Dalton Schultz both failing to get out of bounds properly after making a catch and then a little too fast got off track. , before putting his second foot down after securing a reception.
Yes, it is up to the player when such mistakes are made. It’s also up to the coaching staff to hammer those details into the players’ brains to ensure that when everything matters most, everything that needs to happen runs smoothly.
Anyway, based on what Jones said after the game, McCarthy will be back as the Cowboys’ coach for a fourth season.
The thing about Jerry Jones is that he will fully, completely and unconditionally support a player or coach until such time as he no longer does. And that moment could theoretically come at any moment.