Midway through the fourth quarter of Monday night’s loss to the New York Giants, with the Cowboys trailing 38-20 (read: three scores), Wade Phillips opted to go for it on fourth down, rather than settle for a field goal and make it a two-possession game. This was clearly the wrong choice.
Had Dallas hit the field goal at this point, Dez Bryant’s first receiving touchdown of the game would have had the team to within a touchdown and two point conversion of New York with over three minutes left on the clock. The team eventually would draw within a touchdown anyway, but that was with just 40 seconds left. And it’s worth pointing out that, had Dallas hit this field goal, they would have needed only a field goal to tie it up, going into the final onside kick attempt of the contest.
Phillips explained the decision, albeit poorly, after the game.
But the Cowboys didn’t “need” a touchdown necessarily. Not at this point. Again, this was a three-score game, and with a golden opportunity to close the gap to two scores, Phillips opted to go for the end zone. Now, if they scored the touchdown, this decision might not appear so egregious--but it still would have been a two-possession game. And to be sure, it still would have been the wrong call.
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