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Dak Prescott’s RPO-Decision Not To Blame For Cowboys Loss

Kevin Brady

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AP Photo/Joe Mahoney

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.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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12 Comments
  • William Ballou

    You’re an idiot. How many times does Rodgers have to beat us in the last second for you to understand that that in-completion cost us the game? Instead of no timeouts and way less than a minute to play or one time out and way less than 30 seconds left to play, this one pass gave Rodgers 1:13 and a timeout to score. Duh! Dak read it correctly. Duh! The play should’ve never been called. Only a football moron throws a pass in that situation.

  • Wayne Young

    I didn’t agree with the call to throw it in that situation. They should have just handed the ball off to chew up more time. With that being said, they had another opportunity to kill more time off the clock with the next play. Nobody can fault Dak for scoring the touchdown afterwards, but even as he was running towards the end zone after picking up the first down, I found myself yelling for him to just slide. Anybody remember Westbrook for the Eagles doing that to us? I still do and I was hoping for Dak to do the same. It would have forced Green Bay to use their last time out and with the way we were running it down their throats there’s no way they would’ve kept Zeke out of the end zone with at least one or two more runs, which would have easily put the clock under a minute. That’s my take on it at least. Again, hard to place any blame for scoring a touchdown. That defense though…… PLEASE let Sean Lee come back. He’s only one guy, but our defense is a shell of itself when he’s not out there. If there’s blame to be given, it’s on that side of the ball.

  • Charles

    Very poor decision!! Everyone is quick to give Dak a pass in this situation whereas they would be ripping Tony a new one, but Tony would have been smart enough to not throw the ball in this situation. Dak also could have bled more time off the clock snapping the ball with 1 second on the play clock instead of 10 plus seconds. Reminds of the game where Romo beat the Giants because Eli was dumb enough to throw the ball in the red zone when he shouldn’t have.

  • XaqFields

    It’s not Prescott’s decision to throw that hurt the team, but rather the play call that led to it. In that situation against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, you are not looking to score with more than a minute left on the clock. No play should have been called at that time with the intention of scoring.

    Same with the next play that resulted in a score. Prescott did the right thing — it was just a bad play call.

    In that situation, you line up in the I-Formation and you call a run between the tackles. You’re not likely to score on that play, so the Packers burn a timeout to keep more time from coming off the clock. For the next play, you do the exact same thing. I-Formation, run Zeke between the tackles. Again, you’re not likely to get the score but you might get the first down. Heck, your instructions to Zeke should be “get the first down on this play but don’t take it all the way into the end zone.”

    At that point you have FOUR tries to punch it in, and the Packers can do nothing to stop the clock. You’ve got two time outs you can use to control the clock to make sure you don’t run out of time.

    It was just a horrifically mismanaged series. The players did nothing wrong. It was Linehan/Garrett not using smart strategy there.

  • Fatfan

    Linehan is NOT strategically minded…at all. The offense works because the scouts, Garrett, and management has gotten high caliber players. Consider how poorly Linehan has adjusted the offense after losing Free, and Leay, whom we knew we would be losing. However, it was because of the D that we lost, no the offense.

  • Ddenney1

    DEFENSE is the problem and HAS BEEN for 20 YEARS!!!

  • Dave

    Kevin, I’m not going to call you an idiot but you need to open your mind to the BIG picture here. Linehan should not have called the play. Prescott should have ignored the play called by Linehan. There was over a minute left in the game. 2nd and one. RUN THE BALL! RUN THE CLOCK! Hell, Prescott should have taken a knee on the three instead of scoring. Dallas would have had three downs to score a touchdown.
    RUN THE CLOCK! Don’t give the ball back to Green Bay. I don’t blame the defense. We all know what Green Bay can do on offense.

  • dennisg40

    This is the second year of a team of Cowboys with lots of rookies and we expect them to know everything. People calling the plays decide what they are going to do next. If anyone has noticed the whole NFL is discombobulated this year too with a team like Kansas City leading the pack and other long shot teams running high on the hog. Look at the Patriots they are having a hard time and then Hitler Jones decides to decide who plays next depending on the flag. He picked all the teams for twenty years past and coaches and look what a mess he made out of them. Now that he rigged it up to get in the Hall of fame he thinks he is GOD ALMIGHTY.

  • Gbear

    It’s called “situational football” for a reason. Coaches are responsible to tell the QB not to pass regardless of the defensive look when time is a factor. If Dak disobeyed that, then there’s your story, if it was left up to him completely, they should fire garrett.

  • will_50

    Really, in reality, most everyone is incorrect in their take on the game’s final minutes. You really can’t blame Dak for this loss, you simply can’t. If there is any fault to be placed, place it where it truly belongs, on that sorry porous defense. no way in hell should the Packers been able to come back to win that game and I don’t care if it was Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady at QB, no defense should be that porous as to allow a QB to throw and complete passing to wide open WR’s.

    The Cowboys defense is the one piece that will keep them from winning the East or even get to the playoffs. That defense is atrocious and they should be ashamed of themselves to let all that great play/performance go wasted that Dak put on! Dak is the one reason that Dallas was in the game to have a chance to win and you want to blame him…asinine and totally bogus.

    You score when you can, cause nothing says that their won’t be an ill timed fumble, sack or any turnover during those critical moments at the end. What if the ball was turned over while trying to kill extra seconds off the clock and the Boys didn’t score at all, what then! Dak was put in a no win situation, especially with all the whining so called football experts who call themselves fans of the Cowboys!

  • Gbear

    Had Dak slid, it is more than likely the D would’ve been instructed to let them score on the next play. A little more time off sure but plenty of mistakes were made and many things could’ve been done better. Garrett is a horrible game manager. We’ll never advance with him, you all should know that by now. I feel sorry for the long suffering fans who’ve had to put up with the Jerry Jones circus all these years. I feel sorry for the players because they have a cheerleader instead of a head coach.

  • EverybodyTalks

    Mistakes were made throughout the game. Dak getting into the end zone was not one of them. Seriously, if Zeke had not reached out on 4th down it would have been over. The overhead camera saved Dallas for another play. If T-Will hadn’t muffed the pass, then woulda-coulda-shoulda. If Jourdan Lewis would have turned a little sooner, then Davonte Adams might have had another contested pass in the end zone. If just one of the LBs had spied on Rodgers, then when Irving missed the tackle, a LB might have been there to tackle him, instead of watching Aaron high-stepping down the sidelines. If for all of that, we stopped Rodgers, then Crosby would have kicked a field goal and we would have gone to OT. Then what???….who won the flip of the coin?

Star Blog

Tony Romo Documentary in the Works

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Blog - 5 Most Heartbreaking Losses Of The Tony Romo Era

If you've missed seeing Tony Romo on the field, an upcoming documentary may be the cure. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback is reportedly the subject of a film chronicling his football career going all the way back to high school.

"Now or Never" will tell Romo's incredible story, going from undrafted to one of the top passers in the history of the Cowboys' storied franchise. It's being produced by a Texas-based company run by Christian Hanna (no known relation to James).

According to an article from MyRacineCounty.com, Romo's hometown newspaper, the tale of Tony's football career will be told going back to his days at Burlington High School in Wisconsin. It will follow him to Eastern Illinois University, the same QB hotbed that more recently produced Jimmy Garoppolo.

But what most of us will want to relive is Tony's amazing NFL career, which stands out among the most unexpected rises to stardom of any player in league history.

Romo, who was an undrafted free agent signed by the Cowboys in 2003, didn't play in a game for three seasons. He rose the QB depth chart through practice and preseason play, eventually becoming the backup and earning the respect of then-coach Bill Parcells.

 - Tony Romo, #9

Former Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo

In Week 7 of 2006, Parcells pulled struggling starter Drew Bledsoe at halftime and went with his intriguing young prospect. Tony's first pass in the NFL was one to forget; an interception.

About a decade later, Romo would retire as the Cowboys' all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. He currently ranks fourth all-time in NFL history for passer rating.

Tony's career never saw the playoff and Super Bowl success of predecessors Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, but he remains a beloved figure in team history. The controversial end to his football career, losing his job to rookie phenom Dak Prescott in 2016, created a major rift among Cowboys fans.

While no longer playing, Romo remains one of the hottest names in football. His charisma and football acumen have him in a featured role with CBS Broadcasting.

From obscurity to "anointing oil" to one of the most discussed names in sports, Tony Romo's story is fascinating. This documentary crew picked a great subject, and we look forward to enjoying their work and revisiting the Romo Era once the film is released.



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Star Blog

Prescott VS Wentz Rivalry is Just Beginning

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz Make Cowboys/Eagles Rivalry Great Again

No one expected Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott to become such an interesting rivalry, but that's precisely what the 2016's second and 135th draft picks have turnt out to be since the day they entered the NFL. The two came into the NFC East with very different expectations. Dak wasn't even supposed to be a starter, but circumstance is what helped this rivalry emerge.

Prescott seemed to lead the race after their rookie seasons were over, having led the Dallas Cowboys to a 13-3 record and the #1 seed in the NFC, but Carson Wentz made a huge statement in 2017. Before he went down injured playing versus the LA Rams last December, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was playing astonishingly well.

Leading the MVP race before tearing his ACL, Carson Wentz had thrown for 3,296 yards and 33 touchdowns through 13 games. Had he not gone down, it's more likely than not he would've been named the MVP instead of Tom Brady.

Despite having won the passing yards race, Dak Prescott's 2017 was rougher than his rival's. His interceptions count went from 4 in 2016 to 13 last season. He threw for only 22 touchdowns, falling eight short of the 30 TDs mark. His completion percentage also went down, from over 67% to almost 63%.

As we all know, it wasn't a good year for the Dallas Cowboys. Suspensions, injuries and poor play led them to a disappointing 9-7 season that didn't feel like a winning season at all, even though that's how it will go down in the books.

To make things worse, the Eagles went into January with QB Nick Foles starting, and overcoming adversity and doubters, won their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Although it was Foles and not Wentz the one who played Philadelphia's postseason, the former second overall pick is one of the main reasons for the team's success.

His sophomore year was way better than Dak's.

But as impressive as Wentz's year was, the rivalry between the two signal-callers is just beginning. There is still a lot of history to write in this duel of two young and hard-working players. Two leader of men in one of the most intense rivalries in the NFL.

5 Points: Thoughts on the 2018 Dallas Cowboys Schedule 1

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (Tim Heitman / USA TODAY Sports)

Through two years of football, here's how their numbers look like:

Wentz: 29 games, 1,047 attempts, 644 completions (61.5%), 7,078 yards, 49 TDs, 2 rushing TDs

Prescott: 32 games, 949 attempts, 619 completions (65.2%), 6,991 yards, 45 TDs, 12 rushing TDs

There's not a ton of difference between their numbers, but in the NFL, it's about more than stats. Prescott had the better 2016, Wentz the better 2017.

Dak and Carson have really only played two match-ups in their two years playing in the league. Sitting at an even 1-1 record, 2018 will feature two great games between both of their teams. The defending Super Bowl Champions against the underestimated Dallas Cowboys.

The sport is about winning games and championships, but rivalries like this one make the NFL even more special. Even with Wentz being the MVP front-runner for most of last season, Dak Prescott still has a lot of time to turn things around.

If both turn out to be as successful and important as their franchise wish them to be, then this rivalry will be around for a lot of years.

Tell me what you think about "Prescott VS Wentz Rivalry is Just Beginning" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Star Blog

If Reinstated, Is Randy Gregory A Lock for Cowboys 53-Man Roster?

Sean Martin

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Is It Time To Give Up On DE Randy Gregory?

The Dallas Cowboys will enter training camp in Oxnard with arguably their deepest and most talented defensive line in years. Cowboys Nation continues to hope for the best possible news on suspended Defensive End Randy Gregory, to potentially take this defensive front to the next level. Should Gregory be reinstated, the Cowboys would have another option at right defensive end. This is a position they've bolstered with the signing of Kony Ealy and drafting of Dorance Armstrong, both moves coming behind would-be starter Tyrone Crawford.

This logjam at DE begs the question, amidst optimism for Gregory's situation, is the 2015 second round pick even a lock to make this roster?

Who Does Randy Gregory Need to Outplay?

Going through some form of the Cowboys depth chart at Gregory's position above does little to sort out how Gregory can justify a starting position. Having true starters on the defensive line is not DC Rod Marinelli's way, meaning a possible rotation of Crawford, Gregory, and Armstrong could coexist.

If Reinstated, Is Randy Gregory A Lock for Cowboys 53-Man Roster?

Dallas Cowboys DE Tyrone Crawford, QB Dak Prescott

Even with insufficient depth at defensive tackle, the Cowboys seem committed to keeping Crawford on the edge. As he's done with each position change within the Cowboys defense, Crawford is slowly developing into a respectable right end that's great against the run.

This sounds like just the type of player to compliment a speedy rusher like Gregory, but Randy won't be alone in this role should he return to the team. Along with FA addition Kony Ealy, the Cowboys will look to bring Charles Tapper back from an offseason concussion, and also have second-year rusher Taco Charlton in need of a true position.

It's fair to say that Gregory has been anything but reliable since the Cowboys took a gamble on him, but turning his life around to see out this reinstatement would go a long way in beating out the often-injured Tapper.

Given Ealy's ability to play both on the edge and inside, at his best if receiving limited snaps, I believe that Gregory will only have to surpass Tapper in reaching a favorable spot on the Cowboys depth chart at DE.

Comparing Randy  Gregory and Dorance Armstrong

Of course, making the roster and making an impact on defense are two vastly different realities for Gregory in 2018. Another player that could stunt his opportunities to hunt down quarterbacks is rookie fourth round pick Dorance Armstrong.

If Reinstated, Is Randy Gregory A Lock for Cowboys 53-Man Roster? 1

Dallas Cowboys DE Dorance Armstong  (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The Cowboys would love to see Armstrong begin his career with a strong showing in Oxnard, owning all of the traits needed to be an effective right end at the next level.

Lacking the true cornering speed that Gregory has flashed in short spurts, Armstrong did produce a ten sack season for Kansas in 2016. This production matches the traits that kept Armstrong a priority for the Cowboys at the draft, despite only seeing him get home 1.5 times in 2017.

Rewind to last year's draft, and the Cowboys spent their first round pick on a defensive end they looked to make a right end, all while knowing his ideal spot is at LDE. This makes the difference between drafting Charlton and Armstrong an important one, as the Cowboys are clearly searching for high-value options to complete their pass rush.

Again, assuming Tapper becomes the odd man out in the Cowboys carrying Gregory, Ealy, and Armstrong as right ends, the work is cut out for Gregory to regain the trust of his coaches and bring what only he can to this defense.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

It goes without saying that Randy Gregory will carry plenty of attention with him if present in Oxnard. This is a player capable of transforming a young Cowboys defense into one of the league's most feared.

While the Cowboys would do well to quickly sort out who plays the 3T-DT position alongside DeMarcus Lawrence, and the 1T inside for that matter too, sticking Gregory on the opposite edge could be the easiest decision they make to see immediate improvements in their pass rush.

Should Ealy or Armstrong have more to say about this lineup for the Cowboys defensive line, the depth of this unit will live up to the hype.

Tell us what you think about "If Reinstated, Is Randy Gregory A Lock for Cowboys 53-Man Roster?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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