In Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Mike McCarthy made some questionable clock-management decisions that nearly cost the Dallas Cowboys their first win of the year. On Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, the team’s head coach was back up to his old tricks.
The Eagles had the ball with time winding down in the second quarter and seemed to be headed for a situation where they would need to punt. Meanwhile, McCarthy sat with two timeouts in his pocket that could be used to give his team another opportunity for points at the end of the half.
However, the Cowboys head coach neglected to stop the clock and instead let the Eagles run the quarter down, almost to completion. McCarthy had opportunities to call a timeout on third-and-24 with 1:50 remaining and fourth-and-5 with 1:02 remaining, but instead let Philadelphia drain out the hallf.
The Cowboys offense ended up taking the field with just 11 seconds remaining in the second quarter and Dak Prescott took a knee to bring the half to a close, with Dallas leading to 20-7.
Although the Cowboys held a two-score advantage going into the locker room at halftime, McCarthy’s decision to hold onto his timeout was a head-scratcher for many watching the game. Peyton Manning, who was on ESPN’s alternate Monday Night Football broadcast, was among those that were incredulous that Dallas didn’t try to stop the clock and get the ball back.
"CALL TIMEOUT, MIKE!"
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 28, 2021
Manning might’ve been the loudest and most public critic of McCarthy, but he was far from the only notable sports personality to question the Cowboys’ decision to sit on the ball at the end of the half.
Here’s what others around sports media had to say about McCarthy’s clock management on Monday night:
Mike McCarthy couldn’t see the clock again, is my guess
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) September 28, 2021
Why wouldn't McCarthy call time out there and save 20 seconds? Afraid Philly would go for it? More clock mismanagement.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 28, 2021
Mike McCarthy could called timeout…
at 1:50 before 3rd & 24 or
at 1:02 before 4th & 5
instead he takes his 2 timeouts to the locker room and kneels on the ball pic.twitter.com/sJnUlfpYVk
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 28, 2021
Watching Peyton, in real time, just be utterly puzzled by Mike McCarthy’s alleged “game management” is delightful.
— nick wright (@getnickwright) September 28, 2021
Mike McCarthy trying to figure out how to manage the clock pic.twitter.com/wGhiUmHsqL
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 28, 2021
I’ve been hammering Mike McCarthy for YEARS. To watch Peyton Manning do the exact same thing about his incessantly poor clock management is crazy! pic.twitter.com/hlUuTXreMn
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) September 28, 2021
McCarthy probably won’t get burned for his poor clock management as the Cowboys have a comfortable lead of the Eagles, but Monday night’s debacle is the second week in a row that he’s made some questionable decisions with his timeouts. If he’s not careful, he may cost Dallas a win at some point this year.