In Sunday’s NFC Wild Card game, the Dallas Cowboys lost to the San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys rallied from a 23-7 deficit in the third quarter. Dak Prescott, the Dallas quarterback, raced up the middle with only seconds left and no timeouts. He tried to capture the ball, but time ran out.
After the game, some people pointed out that the referee spotting the ball appeared to be way out of position, including ESPN’s J.A. Adande.
Why is the official responsible for resetting the ball so far behind the play?
Why does it feel like everyone got everything wrong in this game?
Cowboys AND 49ers should be eliminated from the playoffs. Packers advance to the NFC Championship pic.twitter.com/jLEDBAzXuQ
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) January 17, 2022
At the end of play, the referee can be seen running towards the new line. The referee did not reach the ball and spot it in time to allow the Cowboys spike it. It was a gamble, rushing the ball up to the middle with only seconds remaining and no timeouts.
Dan Orlovsky, a former NFL quarterback, criticized the play and called it inexcusable. He even suggested that Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy be fired for allowing such a play to take place.
This is an awful play call and awful execution for @dallascowboys
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) January 17, 2022
Prescott stood up after being tackled and gave the ball to his center. Orlovsky noted that Prescott was never taught to pass the ball to his teammate. Instead, he learned to locate the ball and give it to the referee.
This is yet another heartbreaking loss for Cowboys fans. Dallas now has 11 consecutive playoff appearances but has not reached the NFC Championship. This is the longest drought since 1970’s merger of the NFL and AFL. In seven of those seasons, the Cowboys were finished.