A mistake-filled efficiency doomed the Dallas Cowboys to their one other season the place they will not even make the sport to play for a visit to the Tremendous Bowl
DALLAS — Cease me should you’ve heard this one earlier than, the Dallas Cowboys won’t be advancing to the NFC Championship sport. That is a well-known chorus that is been echoed on the finish of each season for the previous 27 years.
This time, it was a 19-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers within the divisional spherical that the Cowboys did in, marking the second consecutive 12 months that Dallas noticed their season ended by their playoff rivals to the west.
As was the case final season and in lots of Januarys passed by, it did not must be this manner. The Cowboys had been within the sport on Sunday, with the protection holding the vaunted 49ers’ offense in test, and the offense capable of transfer the ball. The Cowboys had been defending the quarterback and there was a sense that it was all there for the taking.
Then got here the errors. Each one among them crushed Dallas’ probabilities at ending one of many league’s longest droughts. One after one other, the errors started, and after such a stellar outing within the wild-card spherical that produced hope, the identical previous Cowboys emerged within the spherical that has vexed them for many years.
The rating was 6-6 when issues started to spiral. Up till that time, the one points for the Cowboys had been an interception by Dak Prescott when quarterback and broad receiver Michael Gallup weren’t on the identical web page, a blocked further level, and an harm to offensive spark plug Tony Pollard. In any other case, the group had carried out properly because the underdog and had an opportunity to take a lead earlier than halftime.
On the subsequent play after Pollard’s harm, nonetheless, on a 2nd & 2 from the SF 18-yard line, Prescott made an inexcusable choice that has plagued him all season.
Prescott threw into double protection to a receiver that wasn’t open, and the ball bounced into 49ers linebacker Fred Warner’s palms. The choose value the Cowboys factors, and ultimately led to a go-ahead subject objective for San Francisco earlier than halftime.
With lower than two minutes to go earlier than the half, all of the momentum had swung away from Dallas. The interception wasn’t the one huge mistake within the sport, nevertheless it was the one which felt prefer it value the Cowboys the sport.
Contemplating the circumstances, it was one of many worst throws of Prescott’s profession and it ought to hang-out him all offseason. There was no have to power the ball into tight protection with factors already probably on the desk for Dallas and with the ball to start out the third quarter.
As a substitute, Prescott’s mind-boggling pattern of interceptions late in second quarters got here again to harm the Cowboys once more within the one sport they could not afford it.
After being on hearth within the wild-card spherical, Prescott finally had a depressing sport towards the 49ers regardless of his offensive line holding up properly towards the vaunted San Francisco entrance. Prescott simply missed too many throws in a efficiency that Dallas could not survive. And, with it, his playoff legacy took one other hit.
Nevertheless, apart from the quarterback, there have been different performs that would have been made to assist the Cowboys stroll out a winner. This does not all fall on Dak. Each sport has a couple of performs that have an effect on the end result, and Dallas did not make any of them in a sport that was determined by one rating.
The blatant maintain by security Donovan Wilson when the Cowboys had in any other case acquired a sack to power a subject objective try was a crushing blunder. As a substitute of three factors, the 49ers prolonged the drive and scored the ultimate landing.
In the meantime, cornerback Trevon Diggs, who has maybe the most effective palms within the league on the place, dropped a positive interception that hit him proper within the palms. That was on the identical drive because the Wilson penalty that modified the trajectory of the sport.
There was additionally a puzzling mistake by kick returner KaVonate Turpin, who had damaged free for a probable game-tying landing, solely to run proper into the San Francisco kicker because the final man to beat. As a substitute of the TD, it was a 44-yard return by the Professional Bowl rookie returner.
The Cowboys managed to get a subject objective out of the superb subject place, nevertheless it ought to have been way more.
In a sport the place they wanted to play a few of their greatest soccer, the Cowboys blew it once more. The win was there for the taking. The Cowboys held the 49ers to 19 factors and misplaced. The performers and roles could change, the poor models could swap, the coaches could also be totally different, the gamers come and go, nevertheless it’s the identical story you have heard advised many instances earlier than.
Every particular person Cowboys group should not be judged by the sins of the franchise’s previous. And but, every year’s version simply continues to inherit these sins and play them out time and again. The identical errors which have cropped up during the last 27 years sprouted once more within the divisional loss to the 49ers.
In the end the Cowboys simply can not get out of their very own approach. The self-inflicted wounds proceed to point out up on the worst instances. Dallas remains to be an enormous play or two away within the largest video games from suddenness for nearly three a long time price of disasters on the worst potential instances.
Do you’re feeling like a 12-5 season with a wild-card sport win was a profitable 12 months for the Cowboys? Share your ideas with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.