The 4th Quarter is here, and Jerry Jones can't be amused right now.
Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett are lucky that their team's highly-engaged owner did not walk onto the field early in the fourth quarter to fire them both on the spot.
At the time of this article's publication, the Dallas Cowboys maintain a six point lead...
...but that's the problem. It shouldn't even be a game at this point.
The offensive play calling on the Cowboys' critical 1-yard-line set of downs was not bad. It was not horrific. It was nothing less than self-defeating.
Every coach makes mistakes.
But sometimes there are mistakes that are so inexcusable, that they speak directly to the character of the decision maker.
This set of downs was one of them.
Let's face it, though. The rest of the game has been littered with sloppiness and thoughtless penalties. Carolina has practically handed this victory to the Cowboys (thanks to an equally sloppy performance), and the Cowboys have refused to capitalize.
One cannot blame Phillips for the embarrassing field goal shank by Nick Folk. But it was John Phillips inexcusable penalty on 4th-and-inches that forced the kicking unit back on the field when a touchdown was critical.
Good coaches take responsibility for the discipline of thier squad. This will be the third straight game in which the Cowboys have taken more penalties than their opponent.
But the 'Boys have outdone themselves tonight with 80 yards of penalization, with a lot of time left on the clock. That's bad. The timing and momentum-killing nature of those infractions has been even worse.
Cowboys fans should be particularly disappointed in their coaching staff, because the leaders on the field have really stepped up tonight. Romo has surely re-established his sense of confidence. Felix Jones came up big in the first half. Roy Williams has made a handful of big catches.
This one can't be pinned on Romo.
Even if the Cowboys win this one, Jerry Jones will have to put his coaching staff on alert.
Dallas will not get to play a cupcake of a game at home every week, and they can only play Tampa Bay once. An undisciplined and poorly-called performance like tonights will register a loss against New York or Philadelphia—at home or away.
Who knows how this game will end. It will probably be a Cowboy victory.
But we all know how this season will end if Dallas exhibits such poor play calling and inexcusable discipline...
... there is no margin for error in the NFC East.