Mike McCarthy would have gone for two if Cowboys scored late vs. 49ers

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McCarthy would have gone for two if Cowboys scored on final drive originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA -- With the Dallas Cowboys facing a fourth-and-4 late in the first half Sunday, kicker Brett Maher stood alone near the 40-yard line at Levi's Stadium, with only a cameraman within 20 yards. The Cowboys ended up going for the first down, and absolutely nobody could blame them.

Maher was one of the stories of the day for a second consecutive week, again for the wrong reasons. He missed an early extra point against the 49ers, continuing a jarring trend that started last week in the Cowboys' wild-card win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Dallas had to view the rest of the NFC Divisional Playoff through that lens.

While Maher did later make two field goals, his struggles on extra points have been so notable that it was easy to wonder if the Cowboys would go for two had they scored on their final drive. After his team lost 19-12, coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that they would have, although he claimed Maher wasn't the issue.

"When we got the ball back in the last series, the plan was to go down and score and go for two for the win," McCarthy said. "That was the thought process. That had more to do with that I just felt like our defense was on the field a long time and I thought we picked it up in certain areas in the second half. But like I said, we just came up short."

The Cowboys never came close to allowing McCarthy to make that decision. When they got the ball back with three minutes remaining, two incompletions and a sack led to a punt. Their final drive never even got close to midfield and ended in a bizarre fashion.

On the final play of the day, running back Ezekiel Elliott lined up at center and was crushed as Dak Prescott threw a short pass that ended the game. McCarthy wasn't really in a mood to explain that one, which lit up social media right away.

"Yeah, it didn't get going," he said. "I really don't want to get into the detail of it, but that obviously wasn't the plan. It's obviously a gadget play or whatever. It's a last-play-situation call that we practice."

RELATED: Cowboys emotional after losing 'winnable game' to 49ers

It's one they probably won't practice again.

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