You’d be hard-pressed to find one person who can reasonably explain what the Dallas Cowboys were trying to do on the final play of their 19-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round Sunday.
Needing a miracle to keep their season alive, head coach Mike McCarthy had running back Ezekiel Elliott line up as the center, flanked by nothing but green grass. Lined up out wide were a mix of offensive lineman and skill position players. As Elliott snapped the ball, he was immediately knocked back to the ground by 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair. Prescott got rid of it early, completing a pass to receiver KaVontae Turpin, who was tackled right away to end the game.
Jimmy Johnson, who led Dallas to back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 1992 and 1993, found himself unimpressed with the play call. He only needed one word to describe what he saw.
“Dumb…..” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
The NFL community residing outside the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area has taken turns clowning the Cowboys for the play call. Former NFL receiver and Carolina Panthers legend Steve Smith Sr. notably took aim at Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
“We the panthers interviewed Kellen Moore for the HC job!” Smith tweeted. “Based on the last play for the cowboys, Ain’t no way in hell Moore is coaching us with that trash last play!!!!”
Did the Cowboys Have a Plan on Final Play?
Following the game, reporters tried to get any sort of intel from McCarthy on what the play design called for. He declined to elaborate.
“It didn’t get going,” McCarthy said. “… I really don’t want to get into detail on it, but that obviously wasn’t the plan. It’s obviously a gadget play or whatever to end it. It’s the last-play-situation call we practice.”