This is the fourth installment in ESPN Dallas' five-part series on things that went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011.
No. 2: Jason Garrett’s clock management at Arizona
The Cowboys had a number of difficult losses in 2011 but the hardest to explain will be the 19-13 overtime defeat at Arizona on Dec. 4.
It was like every game the Cowboys play at University of Phoenix Stadium in some respects because of the strangeness, but this one might have been stranger than the 2008 overtime loss in which the Cowboys lost on a blocked punt for a touchdown and the 2010 loss that was triggered by a missed point after attempt.
This one fell on the shoulders of Jason Garrett.
The Cowboys were driving for a game-winning field goal attempt, like they had done a few times earlier in the season against San Francisco, Washington (twice) and Miami.
A 15-yard completion on third down to Dez Bryant put the Cowboys at the Arizona 31 with 24 seconds to play, however, Garrett chose not to use one of his two timeouts to give the offense the chance to move deeper into Cardinals’ territory for a shorter field goal try.
Tony Romo spiked the ball with seven seconds to play to set up a game-winning try by Dan Bailey from 49 yards. Bailey’s first attempt was good, but Garrett called a timeout because he and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis and assistant Chris Boniol felt the play clock was running low.
Bailey’s second attempt was short and to the left, forcing the game into overtime.
The Cowboys would not get the ball again with LaRod Stephens-Howling scoring on a 52-yard screen pass.
Garrett stood by the decision publicly but in private apologized to the team for the error.