IRVING, Texas -- Saying he left more meat on the bone, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he made a mistake at the end of his team's 31-29 Sunday afternoon loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
In the closing seconds of Sunday's game, Garrett called for a pass play to wide receiver Dez Bryant, which was completed for one yard with 22 seconds left. Instead of spiking the ball or using their last timeout, the Cowboys waited until six seconds remained before calling a timeout.
Dan Bailey missed a game-winning 51-yard field goal with two seconds left that sealed the victory for the Ravens.
Garrett's mishandling of the last few seconds raised several questions about his ability to manage a game. He spent the first 10 minutes of his 33 minute Monday afternoon news conference explaining his thoughts about what happened.
"When we look at that situation, the evaluation is that we need to do a better job in that situation," Garrett said. "That starts with me just executing and getting more out of that situation. If you look at where we are on the field, how many timeouts we have left and what we're trying to get accomplished. We understood we were in field goal range at that time. We felt good about the distance and that Dan Bailey could kick the ball. Having said that, we wanted to get closer."
What also made the situation bad was a lack of urgency from the players on the field following the pass to Bryant. Garrett's play call sent receivers Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree down the field and Bryant on a slant. After the completion, Ogletree and Austin were walking back to the line of scrimmage and Bryant was arguing with the referee. The offensive linemen were moving toward Bryant and possibly to the spot of the ball.
"We make the field goal and lot of this controversy is gone," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning on his radio show on KRLD-FM. "I have obviously had the benefit of hindsight. We all have. We called a play that had been going very good for us. I liked the play call.
"As far as urgency and getting back to the line, or what have you, we're not going to try and defend that. Everybody needs to be really scrambling and moving back at a fast pace out there during that time. It's unfortunate."
Garrett said communication was a big part in what went wrong after the pass play. He didn't offer an excuse, rather calling it an explanation. He even mentioned crowd noise as a factor.
When asked should Ogletree and Austin know the game situation better and shouldn't be told to rush back to the line of scrimmage, Garrett agreed.
"Again, get back as quickly as they can," he said. "Just understanding what the situation is. The communication can be difficult because of the crowd noise. Again the urgency to get back is critical in that situation."
Monday afternoon, Austin declined to comment about why he walked back to the huddle referring questions to Garrett.
"Yeah, that's a personal mistake for sure," Ogletree said about not rushing back to the huddle. "You want to at that stage in the game, it's very critical to at least get aligned to run a play since the plays are so important. We just got to get that mentality that everything is happening fast and it's going to happen fluent."
Garrett called only one play for quarterback Tony Romo to run and after it was over another play wasn't sent in.
Things might have been different if the Cowboys had gained more yards with the Bryant play. But when it resulted in one yard, it's assumed Ogletree and Austin thought Garrett would call a timeout.
"So, when I look at it, I say we left too much meat on the bone there," Garrett said. "We needed to get more than one yard when we had one timeout and 26 seconds. It starts with the play call that I had and then it really goes from there. I felt after we were in the situation that we were in, we did the right thing, but we should have gotten more out of that."