Jason Garrett preaches the football is the top priority for any player. The stats are overwhelming in how great of an impact turnovers have in deciding the outcome of the game.
So it was no surprise that Garrett had a heated conversation with running back Joseph Randle, who lost control of the ball on a TD run early in the second quarter.
Randle leapt over the pile and stretched the ball over the plane of the goal line. However, he had the ball punched from his hand, and officials initially ruled it a fumble. After review, the call was reversed.
But it’s the kind of play that could change the outcome of the game and, in that instance, if there is not a clear camera angle showing Randle crossing the plane, it would have been a costly turnover. That’s why Garrett, running backs coach Gary Brown and offensive line coach Frank Pollack were yelling at Randle about the play when he left the field.
Randle had only two words to say in a brief interview with the Star-Telegram about the play: “Six points.”
Randle ignored a question about the confrontation with the coaches. Garrett didn’t.
“Obviously, it worked out. We scored the touchdown there,” Garrett said. “He got in before the ball came out. That is something that we discussed with him, and our other running backs, about how we want to handle that situation.
“It’s a dangerous play when you extend the ball like that. It worked out for us tonight, but we don’t want to do that in that situation.”
This is not the first time Randle has had an issue holding onto the ball when jumping over the pile. He had a similar play happen in training camp that was ruled a touchdown at the time.
The Cowboys did not use Randle the rest of the first half. They ran the ball five more times in the half, with Darren McFadden getting four carries and Lance Dunbar getting the other.
Randle finished the game with a team-high 11 carries for 26 yards, a 2.4 average. McFadden had 31 yards on 10 carries. Dunbar was the leading rusher with three carries for 54 yards.
“We fought, but we didn’t get the job done,” Randle said. “That’s for sure.”