As you’d expect from a team with two rookies in key spots, a team with the outsize expectations of a rabid fanbase upon it, a team playing in a dome where the sun sears the corneas, a team concocted by the closest thing the NFL has to a Marvel movie villain, the Dallas Cowboys made a total hash of a final, possible game-winning drive against the Giants.
Down a single point, holding zero timeouts, with the day’s most reliable kicker in Dan Bailey waiting for another shot, the Cowboys needed to move the ball roughly to the Giants’ 40-yard line. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott moved the Cowboys relentlessly downfield — well, “relentlessly” in the way a kitten might relentlessly stalk a square of toilet paper — and with less than 10 seconds left, Prescott found Terrance Williams in open space around midfield.
Williams had only one real move: Get the hell out of bounds, pronto. If he’d stopped the clock, the Cowboys would have had one more opportunity to throw to the sideline, or would give Bailey about a 62-yard kick — tough, but not impossible. Instead, Williams did the one thing he couldn’t do: turned back to the middle of the field.
Dez Bryant signaling to Terrance Williams to go out of bounds. pic.twitter.com/fvlU2FPsJH
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 11, 2016
Dez Bryant, who had a mere one catch for 8 yards on the day and is probably seething about that, tried furiously to point Williams out of bounds, but Williams was having none of it. And the clock ticked to zero before the Cowboys could set up for a spike. End result: 20-19, Giants.
Even the video game makers of the “Madden” franchise had jokes on Twitter:
Terrance Williams Awareness Rating ⬇️⬇️⬇️#NYGvsDAL
— EA SPORTS Madden NFL (@EAMaddenNFL) September 11, 2016
You can’t blame Williams for the Cowboys’ loss. But you can blame him for not giving them a chance at a win. He’ll endure the scorn of Cowboys fans for a week, and worse, he’ll be dealing with Dez now. He’s likely to run out of bounds on every play for awhile.
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