IRVING -- Jason Garrett was asked 25 questions about the team's clock management late in Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals. But when his Monday press conference ended, the Dallas Cowboys coach created even more questions. At least publicly.
Garrett defended both his decision not to call a timeout with 26 seconds remaining and his decision to call a timeout before Dan Bailey tried a game-winning 49-yard field goal.
"Certainly, when things don't work out the way you wanted it to, you say, 'Could we have done this? Could we have done that? Should we have done this?'" Garrett said.
"It is very similar to calling a play. When a play works, it was a good call. It was a good play. When it doesn't work, a lot of people will say that call wasn't very good. Ultimately, the execution of a play, the kick or the situation, what we try to do as coaches is to put our players in position to do that."
Sports Illustrated's Peter King tabbed Garrett the goat of the week in his Monday Morning Quarterback column. Garrett was a trending Twitter topic Monday, too, and a hot button on sports talk radio and ESPN.
He left himself open for criticism when Bailey was short on the field goal that counted, and the Cardinals scored a touchdown on the first possession of overtime for a 19-13 upset.
Did Garrett tell quarterback Tony Romo in his headset to clock the ball? Did the Cowboys lose track of how many timeouts they had? Why didn't they have Romo spike the ball or call timeout with 4 seconds remaining rather than 7?
Did special teams coach Joe DeCamillis and/or kicking coach Chris Boniol request the timeout before the field goal as the play clock was running down?
The 16 minutes reporters spent Monday trying to get to the bottom of the Cowboys' late-game decision-making were as confusing as the team's clock management Sunday.
Dez Bryant caught a 15-yard pass for a first down at the Arizona 31-yard line with 26 seconds left in regulation in a 13-13 game.
Instead of taking one of their two remaining timeouts, the Cowboys had Romo spike the ball with 7 seconds left to set up a potential game-winning, 49-yard field goal.
NFL kickers have converted only 52.2 percent of 49-yard field goals this season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and Bailey had missed from 53 yards and hit the upright in making a 50-yarder earlier in the game.
Still, Garrett said it was the Cowboys' faith in Bailey that prompted them to let the clock run down instead of attempting to get closer.
Bailey has made four game-winners this season, including three on the final play. In a similar situation, he had a 48-yarder on the final play of regulation in San Francisco in Week 2 to send the game into overtime. He won that game with a 19-yarder.
"He's been so good in those situations," Garrett said. "... We just wanted to make sure he had an opportunity to kick the game-winner, and we gave him the chance to do that and, unfortunately, it didn't work out for us."
Garrett also mentioned a fear of losing ground in an attempt to get closer.
The Cowboys had nine negative plays on offense against the Cardinals, not counting penalties. Romo was sacked five times; DeMarco Murray lost yards on three carries; and Jason Witten had a catch for a 1-yard loss.
So the Cowboys left it to Bailey to win.
With the play clock running down, Garrett called a timeout before Bailey's practice attempt sailed through the goal posts. In his postgame comments, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt even joked that the Cowboys "iced the kicker there at the end."
Unprompted Monday, Garrett dismissed the idea that he would ice his own kicker.
"The concern, or the consideration, that we were somehow 'icing' our kicker obviously is not really appropriate here," Garrett said.
If the Cowboys had won, Garrett wouldn't have had to answer to anyone. But they didn't.
"Unfortunately, we didn't get it done," he said. "We have to live with that, and I have to live with the decisions that I made for our football team, and I have to live with what happened as the outcome of the game."