Sports

What could the Cowboys have done differently in the last weird play


The problem with the Dallas Cowboys’ final game of the 19-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday wasn’t that they tried something weird and out of the ordinary.

It is that they did not fully grasp the strangeness of their idea and became even more unusual with it.

The Cowboys have been in the spotlight around the NFL for the past 48 hours because of their ill-fated play, and even the owners of the Flag Football League embedded in them.

No matter how bad the play was, at least the Cowboys had the right idea to try something different in a desperate time. But like most of their struggles on Sunday, it was simply due to a flawed plan and even worse execution.

The Cowboys lined up in a strange formation as Ezekiel Elliott ran to catch the ball, while the team’s attack was split wide. When the ball was broken, Elliott rushed over, forcing midfielder Dak Prescott to make a quick pass to KaVontae Turpin, who was immediately tackled.

The game ends.

The mockery and criticism quickly followed.

Obviously they’ll try to do a rugby cross to get the ball down on the final second touchdown. Given their position on the field, that’s the only logical path.

When that type of play is your best bet then the situation has taken a turn for the worse and the odds are piling up against you. The number of truly effective rugby moves in the history of football is alarmingly low.

We saw the Miami Dolphins succeeded a few years ago New England. New Orleans Saints have got a classic play many years ago in Jacksonville that was wasted by a missed extra point. The Pittsburgh Steelers were inches away from finishing the feat against Miami a decade before Antonio Brown stepped in out of bounds at the seven-meter mark on the way to the end zone.

The common denominator in all of those plays: A talented player takes the ball in his hand and swings into the corner amid all the chaos.

The best way to improve the likelihood of that happening is to put more players on the field. The best way to do that is to replace a few of your attacking players with players with additional skills in position (wide receiver, backrunner, full-back, etc.).

Obviously not all of them are eligible to receive immediately (only five players can be eligible), but after the initial pass is completed, it is no longer important to qualify for the pass. The ball begins to be moved to the side.

The problem the Cowboys have is that they keep their savers on the field, but put them in a position where they have no real chance to block. Not for their midfielders, and not for the original pass catcher.

They also put Elliott on an island where only one person actually protects Prescott right away.

If the Cowboys are having a hard time getting everyone out and have a player in a skill position as the only barrier between their quarterback and the San Francisco first-passer, then they should let a real center start. ball and replace four people. linemen out wide with more skill players.

Is it likely to work and produce a game-ending touchdown? Sure is not. But it may have at least helped them avoid the shame they went through.

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