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Breaking Down Terrance Williams’ Game-Ending Decision

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - Breaking Down Terrance Williams' Game-Ending Decision

As often happens on a NFL Monday, the big story of Dallas' season-opening loss is the final play. Terrance Williams' game-ending decision not to get out of bounds but instead go for more yardage has been met with with plenty of outrage and bewilderment, but also some mild defense.

I thought I'd take a few minutes to dissect that play and see how defensible it was for Williams. You can use this video to follow along with the second-by-second breakdown:

Terrance Williams Doesn't Get Out of Bounds, Clock Runs Out on Cowboys | Giants vs. Cowboys | NFL

Dallas Cowboys tried one last surge against the New York Giants, but it was to no avail in Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season. Subscribe to NFL: Start your free trial of NFL Game Pass: Sign up for Fantasy Football!

00:12 - Ball is snapped from Cowboys 46-yard-line.
00:10 - Williams catches ball on Giants 48-yard line.

Assuming Terrance had run for the sideline and gained a few more yards, Dan Bailey would have had a shot from about 61-63 yards out. That's a good 5-7 yards more than his career long, but not outside of his range based on pregame warm-ups and other practice kicks.

Some have defended Williams based on this; Bailey's chances of making that kick were low and the receiver felt he had to try and make a play. There may be a smidge of merit to that idea, but there's just one problem.

There was time to run one more play.

Terrance Williams caught the ball near the sideline with 10 seconds left. He could have gotten out of bounds within about 2-3 seconds the most, leaving 8-7 seconds on the clock. It would have been about a 10-yard gain that took all of four or five seconds to run.

Dallas would have had time to try and get one more quick out to put Bailey in better range. They could have allowed to Dak Prescott to make another quick read and either throw to a receiver or just throw it out of bounds to let Bailey try the 60-yarder. Even if it took six seconds to run the play, Dallas would have had time to try it and put Bailey in a much better position.

Cowboys Headlines - Breaking Down Terrance Williams' Game-Ending Decision 1

Louis DeLuca/Dallas Morning News

Obviously, we have the power of a timed replay and hindsight to make this argument. It's hard to ask players to process all of that in the heat of the moment.

Williams' choice would be more defensible if he'd actually tried to go for the touchdown. He had the inside position to beat Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and could have tried to cut back outside and take the sideline to the endzone.

I doubt he makes it, but diving to end the play was the worst possible choice. It was a no-win scenario.

If you follow me on Twitter (@CowboysAddicts) then you know I'm not a big fan of Terrance Williams. I've seen him blow way more plays than he's made in three years and made plenty of jokes about it. In fact, he's blocked my account because of my "hater" status.

This isn't to pile on the guy. I feel horrible for him because I'm sure Terrance feels even more horribly. I don't think he was trying to play hero ball but just had a misguided sense of the circumstances and what he had to do to help the team win.

Ultimately, Dallas' porous run defense and settling for field goals over touchdowns played a much larger role in the loss. But make no mistake; the Cowboys still had a chance to win and Williams' took it off the table.

It was a tough way to start the year for the player, team, and the fans. Hopefully we're all happier next week in Washington.

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

  • Randy Martin

    Good piece Jess! It’s real easy to place the blame on Williams for the loss but the real fact is that we shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. Settling for field goals when we should have converted some of those to TD’s and the predictably bad defense that couldn’t make stops when it mattered is what cost us the game. Twitter acount blocked by TWill? Now that’s special!

    • Jess Haynie

      Thanks, Randy. You’re absolutely right that the biggest reasons for the defeat occurred outside of Williams’ mistake. Still, despite those, we had the ball with a chance to win in the final moments. Everyone did their part in losing.

Player News

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.

The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.

Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.

A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.

Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders

Jess Haynie



Jamize Olawale, Raiders

Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.

To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.

In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.

Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.

Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.

Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.

Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018 1

Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.

Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of...

While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.

Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladoucer for 2018

Dallas Cowboys LS L.P. Ladouceur

L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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