The Dallas Cowboys have arguably the NFL’s top offensive line and top running back in Ezekiel Elliott. He won the rushing title as a rookie a year ago with 1,631 yards and scored 15 rushing touchdowns.
Ten of Elliott’s touchdowns were of at least 3 yards.
So it surprised many when the Cowboys opted to pass it three times in a first-and-goal situation from the Giants 3 on Sunday night. Dak Prescott’s three passes intended for Dez Bryant fell incomplete, as the Cowboys settled for a field goal.
In the end, it didn’t matter in a Cowboys’ 19-3 victory. Still it was a head-scratching sequence that coach Jason Garrett addressed on Monday.
Asked about the thought process in that situation, Garrett said: “Don’t really think that much about what people’s reactions are outside of our building. Obviously we had a plan there and ultimately it didn’t work out. So you evaluate that situation like you would any other. You want to come away with a touchdown in that situation. In that particular case it didn’t work out. We’ll try to get better from it.”
Asked why Elliott didn’t at least get a chance there, Garrett said: “I don’t want to get into the specifics of those calls. There’s a lot of different ways those plays can be executed. Unfortunately they didn’t work out for us in that instance. We’ll try to get better.”
Prescott missed on two throws, particularly on the second down play when he air-mailed an open Bryant on a slant.
Prescott owned the mistake afterward, saying: “There is no excuse for them, really.”
Some may argue there’s no excuse for Elliott and the O-line not getting a chance to punch it in given how much success they had in those situations a year ago.
“When things don’t work out, it’s always a combination of the position we are putting guys in and the execution,” Garrett said. “That’s been football for a long, long time. So we have to evaluate it as coaches. The players have to evaluate it. We will try to get better in both areas.”