On Sunday night, Mike McCarthy eschewed a game-tying field goal, instead, going for it on fourth-and-3 from the 14-yard-line with 11:46 remaining.
The decision brought out screeches of horror questioning the choice not to tie the game with oodles of time left on the clock. The play failed, and losing to the Rams by those three points underscored the importance of the decision.
Within the Cowboys’ building, however, the decision was met with a different tenor.
“Hopefully confidence and it’s not going to be the last time,” coordinator Kellen Moore said of what the message was with McCarthy’s choice.
Prescott hit rookie CeeDee Lamb on a short crosser, but the rookie receiver was lit up by Rams safety Jordan Fuller and knocked short of the sticks, causing a turnover on downs.
According to NextGen Stats, the Cowboys Win % dropped from 46% to 33% after the fourth-down miss, and never got higher again as the rest of the quarter went scoreless.
While Lamb could have run his route a tad deeper to get to the line to gain, Moore noted that Fuller made a heck of a play to stop the wideout short.
After years of Jason Garrett’s conservative decisions, Cowboys fans are in a conundrum after watching McCarthy get aggressive in that spot.
Moore viewed it as a vote of confidence for the offense.
“Gave ourselves an opportunity, an opportunity to potentially take the lead there, and maybe you kick a field goal,” Moore said, via the team’s official website. “But we’re building momentum there and it was a great opportunity to potentially take advantage of that.”
It wasn’t just the offensive coaches that love the decision, special teams coach John Fassel was on board with going for it.
“I would say, ‘Hell yeah’ 100% of the time, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my boss,” Fassel said. “You have the opportunity on fourth-and-2 or -3 and you’re down inside the 10-yard line. You’ll think I’m just saying this, but I believed in the call 100%.”
The call didn’t work out this time. We’ll see if McCarthy sticks with that plan the next time a similar situation occurs.
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