Sunday, October 14, 2012
Could the Cowboys have run one more play?
By Calvin Watkins
BALTIMORE -- There is some debate regarding the Cowboys' inability to run one or possibly two more plays late in the fourth quarter of their 31-29 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Cowboys had the ball at their own 46 with 30 seconds to play. Quarterback Tony Romo's deep pass down the sidelines to wide receiver Kevin Ogletree was incomplete with 26 seconds remaining, but Ogltree drew a pass interference penalty on Chykie Brown.
With 21 seconds left, Romo completed a hitch to wide receiver Dez Bryant for one yard. The clock kept running, and running and running. Then with six seconds left, coach Jason Garrett called a timeout to set up a 51-yard field-goal try by Dan Bailey that went wide left.
The Cowboys could have spiked the ball sooner to give themselves another chance at a play, but didn't.
"What we were trying to do there is what we talked about before the play," Garrett said. "We had the one timeout, so we had the ability to throw the ball inside and Tony was going to get them on the ball as quickly as he could, knowing that we had that one (timeout) in our hip pocket and try and get a play run, knowing that we could throw the ball anywhere we want with the timeout. We just took too long for everybody to get unpiled, so it got down into the single digits (with the game clock), so we said, 'Take it down to four seconds and bang the timeout.' ''
After Bryant caught the ball, the Cowboys had to deal with the swirling winds at M&T Bank Stadium, which could have altered Bailey's field-goal attempt.
"With the time left in the game, we didn't think it was in our best interest to run another play," Romo said. "We had guys who were trying to get off the pile and receivers who needed to come back to the huddle. There just wasn't enough time. Dan Bailey is a great kicker. That was a tough kick with the wind conditions and all."
Garrett was asked if he regretted not calling a timeout considering the wind conditions.
"The alternative is to bang the timeout right away and then you have to throw the ball (toward the sidelines) and the challenge is there," Garrett said. "They're going to play the (sidelines) and so you get into that game, so we tried to just do it quickly, as quickly as we could. We just couldn't get it run as quickly as we wanted to."
The Cowboys had questionable game-clock issues earlier in the quarter. Trailing 31-23 with 1:49 remaining, the Cowboys were faced with a first-and-10 from the Baltimore 32 when Felix Jones picked up 3 yards on a run up the middle. The next play started with 1:17 left and the Cowboys in a no-huddle offense. Romo threw an incomplete pass to Ogletree.
It seemed time elapsed unnecessarily on this play as well. The Cowboys eventually scored on the drive but missed on the two-point conversion.
"I do support our head coach on his decision making," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "So that’s there."