Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher said the Cowboys took a poor approach when they settled for a 49-yard field goal try to win the game against Arizona instead of trying to get closer.
"That sounds like a defeatist attitude to me,” Cowher said on Tim Ryan’s SiriusXM radio show this week.
The Cowboys had reached the 31-yard line on a catch by Dez Bryant with 26 seconds left and two timeouts and the game tied 13-13. Quarterback Tony Romo stopped the clock with seven seconds left by spiking the ball.
Dan Bailey missed from 49 yards, and the Cowboys lost in overtime. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he opted not try for a shorter kick because he didn’t want to risk a negative play and he was confident in Bailey from that distance.
“I was totally mystified,” Cowher said. “I heard the coach’s explanation afterwards, and listen, I know in the heat of battle we all make decisions, we all do things that, sometimes, it’s a very quick decision. I know that he had confidence in his kicker.”
But Cowher said at that point, the Cowboys had the advantage on offense.
“If I’m the defense, I’m kind of on my heels,” he said. “Do I put eight guys in the box and stop the run because I don’t want them to get closer? And if I do that, I’m one on one on the outside? Or do I sit there? To me, you’ve got the advantage on the offensive side of the ball because you still have a time out. You can go up there and throw the ball or run the ball with a ‘check-with-me.’ Let Tony Romo read the defense. Eight in the box – let me throw a quick hitch or a slant to Dez Bryant. And if it’s incomplete, I can still run the ball again.
“So I think in that situation you’ve got to have more confidence in your offense and not look at it as being, ‘Well, you can lose yardage.’ Yeah, but you can also gain yardage. And I think championship teams don’t think about what they don’t do. They think about what they can do.”
-- Carlos Mendez