Cowboys' Mike McCarthy Defends Late Dak Prescott Run: 'That Was the Best Option'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 17, 2022

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy watches during the first half of his team's NFL wild-card playoff football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The Dallas Cowboys made the questionable decision to run a quarterback draw with no timeouts remaining in the final seconds of Sunday's 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, but head coach Mike McCarthy defended the play call even though time expired before they could get in another snap.

"That was the best option," he told reporters while explaining the 49ers were protecting the sidelines to prevent Dallas from getting out of bounds with enough time to run one more play closer to the end zone:

CBS Sports HQ @CBSSportsHQ

"That was the best option ... it's the right decision."<br><br>Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy on the QB draw play that ended the game. <a href="https://t.co/ZZfnkkiEAa">pic.twitter.com/ZZfnkkiEAa</a>

Perhaps it would have worked if things unfolded slightly differently.

For one, Dak Prescott should have gone down earlier than he did to allow the offense more time to line up and spike the ball. Instead, he pushed it a few too many yards while the clock was running, which proved costly.

The official also could have been closer to the play, which would have prevented the ensuing confusion and controversy.

After all, the official was well behind the play and ran over Prescott while trying to catch up and spot the ball, which was magnified by the fact the quarterback was essentially already lined up to spike it. That sequence led to plenty of confusion with even the 49ers unsure if they should celebrate.

Still, that is a lot of things that had to happen just right for Dallas to have one more chance to throw it into the end zone.

Instead, it could have forced the issue by attempting a pass by the sidelines and hoping one of its star receivers in Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb could make a play. It also could have simply tried a Hail Mary, especially if the 49ers were playing more against a sideline route than a deep ball.

Yet McCarthy defended the decision to call a draw even though it ultimately cost Dallas a chance at a dramatic win.