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Monday, December 27, 2010
Cowboys bypass going for two points

By Calvin Watkins

IRVING, Texas -- In the middle of the David Buehler mess -- where he missed a point-after attempt for the second time this season, leaving the door open for Arizona to win the game with a field goal -- was an interesting decision by Jason Garrett.

He didn't go for two.

After a Marion Barber touchdown cut the Cardinals' lead to 21-19 late in the third quarter, Garrett elected to kick the extra point instead of going for a two-point conversion.

The famous two-point conversion chart says to go for two if you're down two points.

"We were still in the third quarter, so the biggest thing at that point was just trying to accumulate points and not trying to match their score too early in the ballgame," Garrett said. "What happens when you start making those decisions is sometimes you get a little hasty and say, 'Ok if we get two here that will tie us up.' But typically what happens when you have another quarter to play, there are a couple more scores and the whole thing kinda plays itself out a little bit."

Garrett wanted a sure thing, which he got, at that stage and was only down, 21-20. The Cowboys defense forced a three-and-out on the Cardinals and got the ball to start the fourth quarter. Eventually the Cardinals increased their lead to 24-20 on a Jay Feely 49-yard field goal, but Stephen McGee was able to rally the Cowboys with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin that gave his team a 26-24 lead.

But it all came crashing down when Buehler missed the extra point and the defense struggled to keep Arizona from scoring.

"You have to execute in all three phases, and I think when we go back and look at this play-by-play, we'll see that we didn't do that well enough," Garrett said. "There were some big turnovers, there was a missed extra point. Those things come back to get you."