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Cowboys' Mike McCarthy Says Final Play vs. 49ers 'Obviously Wasn't the Plan'

Erin WalshJanuary 23, 2023

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Levi's Stadium on January 22, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys saw their season come to an end with a 19-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round on Sunday, and their wild final play is going to be one fans are talking about for a while.

With six seconds remaining in the game, running back Ezekiel Elliott lined up as the center with no other offensive linemen around him. Dak Prescott was in shotgun with Malik Davis next to him, and the remainder of the offensive lineman and receivers lined up out wide.

If that sounds confusing, it's because it was.

Elliott was quickly bulldozed, which forced Prescott to get rid of the ball quickly. The veteran quarterback found KaVontae Turpin, who was lit up short of the first-down marker, and the game came to a close.

49ers on NBCS @NBCS49ers

Quality effort on the last play 😂<a href="https://t.co/SmcUNZpqQB">pic.twitter.com/SmcUNZpqQB</a>

After the loss, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy addressed the play call.

"I really don't want to get into detail on it, but that obviously wasn't the plan," McCarthy told reporters. "It's obviously a gadget play or whatever to end it. It's the last-play-situation call we practice."

The Cowboys played a poor game all around Sunday night. Prescott completed just 23 of 37 passes for 206 yards and one touchdown against two interceptions, and Elliott finished with just 26 yards on the ground.

The Dallas defense also allowed San Francisco to accumulate 312 total yards and convert on 50 percent of their third-down attempts.

McCarthy has been head coach of the Cowboys since the 2020 season. While he has led the team to a 30-20 regular-season record since then, America's Team is just 1-2 in the postseason.

Despite the lack of postseason success, the Cowboys have no plans to fire McCarthy, owner Jerry Jones told reporters after Sunday's loss. However, if Dallas ends the 2023 campaign in similar fashion, he'll likely be on the hot seat.