It’s now the morning after the Dallas Cowboys season ending loss, and no, it doesn’t feel any better. But a season ending loss, even one as heartbreaking as this was, doesn’t excuse everyone from being called out for their ridiculous hot-takery.
We aren’t even 24 hours removed from the end of a 13-3 season in which the Cowboys won their division and hosted a playoff game, and I already see fans calling for the head of head coach Jason Garrett.
While ultimately it could be argued that some coaching mistakes did the team in late, the job which Jason Garrett did not only last night but all season should be appreciated.
Back in August, Garrett lost his starting quarterback, the only quarterback Garrett has ever really known while coaching the Cowboys. With Tony Romo down, a fourth round rookie had to step in. While it turned out that this rookie was a special player, wise beyond his years, credit still needs to be given to Garrett for both coaching Dak Prescott up and for righting the ship after losing the team leader.
I know we don’t think of it this way, but this team went 13-3 with their third string quarterback. Yeah, it turned out Dak was arguably the best quarterback on the roster (not doing this debate today, guys), but the circumstances are still astounding.
What we learned after Tony Romo’s injury is exactly what we saw last night: this team refuses to give up. They fight for their coach, and they fight for every last second of the game.
Down 21-3 and with Aaron Rodgers looking like Superman, it would have been easy for the Cowboys to roll over and allow themselves to get blown out the building. But they didn’t. Led by Prescott and Garrett the Cowboys were determined to finish the fight. And in the end, they almost did it.
Yes, there were coaching mistakes. The defense looked flat out over-matched during the first three possessions of the game. Once again, costly pre-snap penalties such as illegal substitution and unsportsmanlike conduct cost the Cowboys key plays. Both coordinators seemed to struggled at times, especially offensive coordinator Scott Linehan who just couldn’t get out of his own way (watch how the Steelers run their offense, Scott).
And, of course, the Cowboys elected to spike the ball on first down with 40 seconds left instead of either running another play, or using their final timeout. That spike left Dallas with just two downs to get 10 yards, and ultimately left Rodgers too much time.
All of this can be true, and Jason Garrett can still be a top-notch head coach. Mistakes are going to happen, the other team is going to make plays, and you are going to fall behind in games.
Jason Garrett’s ability to rally the team down 15 or more points twice in a playoff game against the Green Bay Packers is incredible. In my opinion, Garrett gets the most out of the players, more than any other coach could.