Mac Engel

Terrance Williams’ date with dumb dooms the Cowboys

So, Terrance Williams ... what were you thinking?

Williams’ thinking was that he would catch the pass from Dak Prescott in the game’s final seconds, make the first defender miss, and then dive out of bounds to set up a long Dan Bailey field goal to win the game.

To Williams’ credit, he never said this was a good idea.

“Obviously, I should have followed the rules and just went out of bounds,” Williams said after the game. “The time wasn’t the problem. I was clearly aware of the time. It was just something I was thinking of, and it was a bang-bang moment.”

And, bang-bang, your Dallas Cowboys are 0-1 after their 20-19 loss to the New York Giants. But the Giants don’t have their own helicopter, so the Cowboys still have that on them.

We’re one game in and already this team has supplied a season’s worth of kicks to the face, and punches to the privates. If the Cowboys have any shot at a successful season they will survive their own stupidity.

Talking to Williams felt like a teacher scolding a fifth-grader with the follow up question of, “So, do you know what you are sorry for?”

“Getting up I was like, [bleep] — sorry for saying that — it hit me, I should have just went out of bounds and lived to the next play,” Williams said.

Yes. Do that.

As witnessed so many times before in sports, especially with the Dallas Cowboys, thinking often ruins the local team. See ball, catch ball, run to sidelines. It’s not complicated.

“It’s a well-practiced situation,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said.

That’s not a compliment.

Williams can be a free agent after the season and despite his advanced NFL experience he committed one of the real blunders in a game where there were few.

The Cowboys only had six penalties, committed zero turnovers and forced an interception.

Trailing by one, the defense had done just enough to give the Cowboys a chance; they had a shot when Dak Prescott completed a pass underneath to Williams at the Giants’ 48-yard line with 10 seconds remaining. In reviewing the replay, Williams could have reached the 45- or 44-yard line and stopped the clock with maybe 6 seconds left.

That would have set up a Bailey 60-yard field goal try. His career long is 56 yards, and he told me after the game the longest he tried during warmups was that distance.

“In that situation, you just give it a go,” Bailey said. “It’s tough.”

He had already made one 56-yarder earlier in the game as well as a 54-yard boot that gave the Cowboys a 19-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Instead, however, Williams turned his route inside to get more even more yardage.

“When I saw him back inside,” Giants quarterback Eli Manning said, “I was happy.”

Justifiably so. The decision blew up in the Cowboys’ face as the clock expired.

“In my mind, I was trying to make the first guy miss and then dive out of bounds,” Williams said.

In my mind, I look like Brad Pitt.

In defense of T-Will, he does work for an organization that built a stadium that cost more than $1 billion yet failed to take into account this silly little thing called the sun. The late afternoon glare of the setting sun peeked through the west end zone on Sunday that cost the Cowboys at least three times on potential fourth-quarter catches.

“Those 3 o’clock games are tough in the second half,” said receiver Cole Beasley, who caught eight passes for 65 yards. “It’s tough near our sidelines.”

That’s exactly where tight end Jason Witten and wide receiver Dez Bryant each had opportunities where they could have made plays near midfield, but lost the ball in the glare of the sun.

Jerry, how about a tarp? Or, better yet, install some temporary seats on the side of the end zone that don’t work but do block the sun; it worked for the NFL in the Super Bowl.

The entire first game does not fall on the brain gas of Terrance Williams, so none of us should think that if he runs out of bounds in time the outcome changes.

He’s going to get it because it’s the last play.

Do not forget that Dez Bryant had but one catch for 8 yards.

Remember the offense stalled routinely and had to settle for four Bailey field goals, including two from 25 yards or less.

Put in your brain that the running game dominated the line of scrimmage, but averaged only 3.4 yards per rush attempt and in his NFL debut rookie first-round pick Ezekiel Elliot was inferior to veteran NFL free-agent signee Alfred Morris.

It’s going to be difficult to forget the defense was just about as “good” as we feared; the Giants ran for more than 100 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns, but handed the Cowboys a gift interception that Brandon Carr actually caught, his first since 2013.

The Cowboys did just enough to win Prescott’s NFL debut as a rookie, but their margin of error is so minute they simply do not have room to be dumb.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram