Jason Garrett has an explanation for his clock management Sunday. And that explanation isn't, "Whoops! Someone put lye in my Gatorade and I spent the final minute of the game writhing in pain in the sideline." That would have been a good explanation. Instead, we get this:
We very well could have taken a timeout there. We felt like we were in field goal range. We have yard lines that we use as guidelines before the game. We felt like we were in range at that point. Tony [Romo] had them on the line of scrimmage quickly, so we went ahead and clocked it and used that as a timeout. …
You see so many situations where you have negative plays in those situations. We felt like we were in his range to give him a chance to kick the game-winner.
Before this game, I thought of Jason Garrett as a mildly competent, professional coach. I will not be viewing him that way any longer. You can go ahead and lump him in with Norv Turner, Andy Reid, Lovie Smith, and any other horrible coach who goes out of his way to make awful decisions with the clock. In many ways, icing his own kicker was the LEAST offensive part of Garrett's decision-making at the end of the game. You could almost explain that by noting that icing the kicker NEVER works, so why not do it to yourself as a kind of reverse psychology ploy?
The spike was worse. MUCH WORSE. I will NEVER understand any coach who thinks settling for a 49-yard field goal is a good idea. Ever. Norv Turner did the exact same thing last week when the Chargers lost to Denver. Brad Childress did it in the 2009 NFC title game. It's grossly offensive to your offense to shut it all down within 50 yards and bank on a low-percentage field goal try to save your butt. Tony Romo was GOOD yesterday. Use him! GET CLOSER! MAKE YOUR ODDS BETTER! ARE YOU AN IDIOT?!
Because only an idiot would fail to use a timeout with :25 left on the clock in order to spike the ball eighteen seconds later. Any sane person would use the one timeout, and then try and get CLOSER. That's just common sense. You don't leave timeouts on the table at the most crucial time of the game. Otherwise, why did you save them to begin with?
Garrett lost a lot of credibility Sunday. It'll be hard to distance himself from this debacle. Now, any time the Cowboys are running a two-minute drill, you Cowboys fans will have that horrible feeling deep down that Garrett will screw it up and then offer a horrible rationalization for it afterward. This was as bad as clock management gets, and it's not a good omen as the season draws to a close.