The Cowboys and 49ers played in what can only be generously described as a defensive struggle on Sunday night, as neither team produced much in the way of explosive plays, but it was the Niners that were able to make fewer offensive mistakes, as Brock Purdy did just enough to help out his stellar defense in a 19-12 win to punch a ticket to the NFC title game against Philly.
The same could not be said for Dak Prescott, who, a week removed from arguably his best game as a pro, struggled mightily with just 206 yards on 23-of-37 passing with one touchdown and a pair of brutal interceptions. The final Cowboys drive served as a microcosm of their game, as poor decision-making and execution collided to send them out of the playoffs with a whimper.
The series started with Prescott almost taking a safety and then almost throwing a pick on the first play, which really set the tone for the last gasp effort at a game-winning or tying drive. From there, Dalton Schultz, who likewise starred a week ago, didn’t get out of bounds going forward, allowing the clock to wind, and then failed to get a second foot down on a catch with five seconds left that would’ve put them on the edge of Hail Mary range. At that point, the Cowboys needed a miracle, and the play Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore dialed up was, well, certainly unique, as Ezekiel Elliott (yes, the running back) served as the center on what amounted to a 8 yard hitch route that got blown the hell up.
I have watched this a number of times and I have yet to figure out what the plan was on this. When Kavontae Turpin catches the ball, there is no one for him to pitch it to immediately. If the plan was for him to catch and throw it back to the sideline, it was a terrible thought process because there’s no time for him to do anything as he gets lit up immediately. Also adding to the hilarity is Zeke trying to block after the snap, as he gets driven straight back into Prescott, only adding to the hurried nature of the play.
There isn’t a good play to run needing a touchdown from your own 24, but I am confident in saying this is a bad play call for that situation. At least the Cowboys gave us a laugh on their way out, although the Dallas faithful probably won’t see the humor in it all just yet.