Mike McCarthy Explains Not Challenging Pettis Catch in Cowboys' Loss to Giants

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIIJanuary 4, 2021

New York Giants' Dante Pettis, center, celebrates his touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

New York Giants wide receiver Dante Pettis' 10-yard catch with seven minutes left to play against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday appeared to hit the ground, but the Cowboys let it slide.

Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy elected not to challenge the ruling on the field. 

"Just felt it was too close," McCarthy said of the decision not to challenge the catch, via Todd Archer of ESPN. "Felt it was a bang-bang situation and the fact of the matter is we were in a tight game and the three timeouts was obviously of high value there. We just didn’t think there was enough information to overturn it."

The grab set up a 50-yard field goal for Graham Gano that helped New York secure a 23-19 victory. 

The Cowboys were unable to engineer a comeback in their final drive, needing a touchdown to take the lead. They crept down to the Giants' 7-yard line in the final two minutes, but quarterback Andy Dalton was intercepted in the end zone with 1:24 left to play.

The Giants ran out the clock on their last possession to end the Cowboys' season.

McCarthy downplayed the absence of three of his assistant coaches in his decision to not challenge the play, though he noted that he typically has coaches in the upstairs booth that will relay information to him about replays so he can make his own decisions on the sideline.

Assistant head coach Rob Davis. assistant special teams coach Matt Daniels and offensive assistant Scott Tolzien remained in Dallas to abide by COVID-19 protocols, according to DallasCowboys.com's Rob Phillips

McCarthy's decision not to go for two after a touchdown in the third quarter, when the Cowboys trailed 20-15, also played a role in the loss. A two-point conversion would have inched the Cowboys within three, but the team elected to kick the extra point because McCarthy said "it was too early in the game" to try for two.

Both the Cowboys and Giants finished the season at 6-10, though the Giants' playoff hopes are still alive. If Washington loses to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, the Giants will be crowned NFC East champions.