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Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Frank Schwab discuss the Cowboys lackluster performance in all phases in a 23-17 playoff loss to the 49ers. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
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CHARLES ROBINSON: You can't have a playoff with the Cowboys taking part and not feel like there's always a chance that they're gonna lay an egg and completely fall flat. And what were we given by the Cowboys and Mike McCarthy, but not only falling flat, but also having 14 penalties, clock management problems.
The end of a game, where time runs out and then fans throwing [BLEEP] at officials, like the officials were the ones who decided, hey, it's smart for us to run a quarterback draw with, you know, only a few seconds left on the clock and think everything is gonna go perfectly for us to actually get a shot into the end zone.
FRANK SCHWAB: You know, I've tried to look at this in a clear mind. I've tried-- OK, I'm gonna try to see the Cowboys side of this. And McCarthy's version of this was basically, we're trying to get a few yards so we can run five verticals instead of a Hail Mary, which you could do for the 25, which you can't from the 40. And I guess there's some validity to that.
But I don't know, man. The reward is so little compared to the risk. And once Dak starts running, I'm like, game's gonna be over. I mean--
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yep, yep.
FRANK SCHWAB: --I guess they-- could have gotten the spike. They could have. But everything has to go right. Everything-- it's just-- just can't do it. You just can't run that play at that time. And then McCarthy kind of hides behind, oh, our analytics guys offered that play up.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.
FRANK SCHWAB: Oh, come on. No, not them. Don't. Don't. No.
FRANK SCHWAB: Right. It was-- and I don't want that to take away from the rest of the game, either. Because, honestly, the rest of the game was a fiasco for the Cowboys. Like you said, they tied a franchise record with 14 penalties. Franchise record in a playoff game, anyway. They were just sloppy. They didn't play well. Dak didn't play well until the end. He hit a few passes.
But, you know, CeeDee Lamb was totally invisible for most of the game. Zeke Elliott looked like Zeke Elliott all season, plodding along like he's wearing cement shoes. It just-- it was a bad game for the Cowboys. A horrible loss. You know, everybody got overhyped on the Cowboys after that Washington win and put them in the Super Bowl and all that.
But, for as much as I kind of threw a little bit of cold water on that, I still thought this team was capable of doing it. I still thought, this team is capable of making the Super Bowl. Look at all the stars on offense. Look at all the stars on defense. And for them to be one and done with a home loss, just a terrible way to end the season first off.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Jimmy Garoppolo, sacked zero times. Can't have that happen. It's Jimmy Garoppolo, OK? Zero sacks on Jimmy Garoppolo is an absolute indictment. Just to not get to him is not an outcome you could have envisioned going into this. I thought, Jimmy Garoppolo, they're gonna sack them, you know, three, four times, unless he just doesn't ever throw the ball. But he threw it enough.
Meanwhile, flip side, Dak, pressured the entire game. Think he was sacked five times. Constantly felt like he was being pressured, moving around in the pocket. Schematically, the defensive penalties, that's the second time this season where they've had 14. And I don't care what you want to say, but the ultimate indictment for in-game discipline always falls at the feet of the head coach.
At the end of the day, it always falls there. That coach is either gonna run a discipline program, especially in the most vital spots in the season. He's gonna make sure his guys show up and don't make stupid mistakes and create first downs. I put that at the feet of Mike McCarthy.
I put-- overall, I wrote tonight just about how this feels a little bit like the Jason Garrett era. Like he's only two years in, and we're, like, going back to this thing where you have a monumentally loaded team, you feel like all the expectations are there, you actually have it rolling. All these things come apart at the worst possible time.