With the Dallas Cowboys down four and looking to score what they hoped would be a game winning touchdown, they faced a second down and one deep inside Packers territory.
The Cowboys had gotten here by punching the Packers in the mouth. Ezekiel Elliott looked like his 2016 self on this drive, running with a purpose over and through Packers’ defenders. The offensive line was moving people, and seemed to finally be gelling.
After a nine yard first down play the Cowboys lined up in the gun for second and one. Everyone in the building expected Dallas to continue pounding the rock with Zeke and take more time away from a potential Aaron Rodgers comeback.
Instead, they decided to run a run-pass option in which Dak Prescott read the defense and threw an incomplete pass to Dez Bryant in the end zone. The Cowboys scored the very next play, but this incompletion proved costly in terms of time remaining for the Packers offense.
The thing is, Prescott made the exact right read when throwing the football.
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The Packers linebackers all bite on the play fake, as do both of their safeties. Seeing that the free safety has his eyes in the backfield, Dak immediately attacks the secondary and finds Dez Bryant in a one-on-one situation.
This is exactly how the Cowboys draw this play up. If you want to take away Elliott and this powerful run game, then we will exploit man coverage with our best receiver. Had their been five minutes left instead of just one, no one would be saying a thing.
With all of that said, I do think it is fair to criticize both Prescott and the coaching staff here. Why not just run the ball once again, chewing more clock and most likely picking up a first down?
At the same time, I don’t subscribe to all of the outrage which has been directed Dak’s way due to this incompletion.
On second and one, knowing you have three downs to get one yard, taking a chance at a touchdown to Dez Bryant is never really a bad idea. Plus, no matter how poor your defense has looked this season, the blame must be placed on that defense if they can’t hold an offense out of the end zone with just a minute and change left in the game.
This loss is not on Dak Prescott by any means. And while he probably wants this one back, I don’t believe we should be killing him for it the way that the internet is today.