The Dallas Cowboys showed off the potential that has so many fans excited this fall during Sunday night’s game at the Los Angeles Rams. It didn’t wind up leading to a season opening win for new head coach Mike McCarthy, though.
Perhaps the biggest play of the game came on a gutsy fourth down call in the early fourth quarter. With 11:46 remaining in the game, the Cowboys had 4th-and-3 from the Rams’ 11-yard line. A chip shot field goal could tie the game, but instead, McCarthy made the aggressive call to go for it.
Electing to leave the game-tying points on the board will always be a fairly controversial decision. Given the Cowboys’ offensive weapons, trying to get three yards there is pretty justifiable though. The bigger issue is that the play the team ran got CeeDee Lamb the ball two yards beyond the line of scrimmage, where he was stopped short of the conversion.
This morning, owner and general manager Jerry Jones weighed in on that consequential decision during a call with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. “I’m fine with the call,” he said.
Jerry Jones on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Mike McCarthy’s fourth-down decision early in fourth quarter Sunday: “I’m fine with the call.”
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) September 15, 2020
Again, the play call, which led to a receiver getting the ball short of a first down, is the far more egregious part of the decision than merely that to go for the first down there. Given McCarthy’s reputation as a fairly conventional, conservative decision maker from his time with the Green Bay Packers, the aggressiveness should be welcome in Dallas.
Execution, however, is still a work in progress.
— NFL (@NFL) September 14, 2020
“I just felt that would’ve been a huge momentum play for us at that particular point in time,” McCarthy said after the game, per USA Today. “Our big-play production, we only had six big plays in the first half and we only had one (in the second). That was the mindset: Try to create more of those opportunities for our players.”
The teams would trade three punts and another turnover on downs by the Dallas Cowboys to end things, giving the Los Angeles Rams a huge 20-17 win to open the year.