Jason Garrett on spiking ball: We wanted to preserve timeout

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Among the plays that helped set the stage for the Packers to beat the Cowboys with a last-second field goal was a spike by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott on the team’s final drive.

A pass to Jason Witten gave the Cowboys a first down in Green Bay territory with 1:07 left to play and Prescott spiked the ball to stop the clock at that point. The Cowboys, trailing by three at the time, would move seven yards closer before a third down incompletion set up Dan Bailey’s field goal with 35 seconds left to play.

After the game, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was asked about the decision to spike the ball there rather than continue running plays and time off of the clock.

“Just felt like that was the right thing to do at the time,” Garrett said. “Keeping the timeout to be able to kick a field goal is really important if you can do it. So in those situations when you make a first down, we believe you clock it there so you keep the timeout in your back pocket. Obviously in that situation we’re trying to go down and score a touchdown so you want to keep as much time on the clock as you can. If the clock is going and you need a timeout to get yourself in field goal range you have that one still available to you.”

Garrett never needed that timeout, which obviously would have been in his pocket with or without a spike on the first down play, and he wasted a down that could have been used to try to score a touchdown. The Packers could have stopped the clock, but that would have left them without timeouts to use on their own final drive and increased the likelihood that Bailey’s kick sends the game to overtime.

No one knows how things would have played out otherwise, but there’s no arguing with Aaron Rodgers’ assessment that the Cowboys left him with “a little too much time on the clock.”

43 responses to “Jason Garrett on spiking ball: We wanted to preserve timeout

  1. It was a mistake.

    Just as you have people on teams only responsible for salary cap management, you need someone that specializes in time management as a majority of coaches are just not good enough at it.

  2. 1:07 left at the Green Bay 40. Plenty of time to run a play without calling a TO, or wasting a play by spiking the ball. It’s a judgment call, but the proper strategy seems to be not to spike.

  3. I loathe the Cowboys but it was absolutely the right call… they needed to save one timeout just in case they needed to stop the clock and send their field goal unit onto the field to tie the game… they just ended up not needing to use it.

  4. jerry ought to just coach the team. that way, he isn’t kicking the dog over the spike play. he does all the other things coaches do, like speak for the team, announce lineup changes, etc. so he should just coach them too. that way he has no one to blame.

  5. spike the ball when you’re inside the twenty, not when you’re not in field goal range with 48 seconds left…plenty of time to run your offense, instead you wasted a down when you couldn’t afford too…..another stupid decision by a stupid head coach, seven years and counting..

  6. I was wondering on 3rd down on that drive why the didn’t run it and let the clock tick down and then take the time out with a few seconds remaining? Then Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t have had a chance.

  7. This was the RIGHT call. They were not in great FG range. There was less than a min in the clock. Spiking the ball leaves you 2 downs to use the whole field, not just the boundaries. Timeout or not, the drive was still going to end in a FG. Don’t let Jared cook cross your defense 36 yards down the field on 3rd and 20 is probably something to gripe about. Use of the TO? Correct call, arm chair QB’s.

  8. jasons81 says:
    Jan 16, 2017 7:56 AM

    I loathe the Cowboys but it was absolutely the right call… they needed to save one timeout just in case they needed to stop the clock and send their field goal unit onto the field to tie the game… they just ended up not needing to use it.
    ==================================How was it the right call? The lost the game because of this decision. 1:07 left on the GB 40, you had plenty time to walk to the line an call your play, the 2 min hurry up drive has two thing your looking to accomplish, 1. score and 2. leave little to no time on the clock, they scored, but took away a down when it wasn’t needed and left 35 seconds on the clock when GB had time outs to burn

  9. Not a bad idea to save the TO, but calling for a spike there was definitely the wrong call. There was plenty of time left at that point, and wasting one of your 3 plays was inexcusable.

  10. Without “the spike”, the Cowboys at least force overtime, maybe win. Bad call by Garrett, wasting a down that would have been used.
    With that much clock and a timeout,, C’mon man!?!

  11. I really enjoyed that game. Mainly because of the ending but it was a great game.
    I was watching it with cowboys fans and it was so delicious seeing them lose after having to endure the endless “hype” videos about Dak and Beasely’s “stories”. LOL

  12. Even with the spike. After the second play with and 3 to go the Cowboys were already in FG range, so why not try to do a quick run for 3 yards, and then spike the ball. You never leave so much time for Rodgers, that’s a big no no…


    The only thing that could have made it better was if NBC were to have shown more shots of Jerrah’s box. Images of him, his buffoon sons, and those silver spoon grandsons would have been absolutely f’n priceless….

  14. Tomlin, Belichick and Mike McNugest would have all coached to win in that situation.

    The Jason Garrets and Andy Reids of the world coach not to lose.

    An therein lies the difference.

  15. The coaching let this team down. Terrible play calling. From the first drive where the Cowboys ran the ball twice and passed the ball 5 times including a 3rd and 2 where they failed. Just stupid play calling and decisions all game.

  16. good and bad from that call. the good was that it did stop the clock and allow the offense to get a favorable play call in–the bad (and really only in hindsight) is that it killed the momentum of that drive, with some big time throws by Dak resulting in two completions, they had marched down to the 40 and really should have just kept it going–packers had no answer in the secondary. oh well, over now but i don’t blame the coach, tough call to make at the time.

  17. Feels like, at least a little bit, that McCarthy finally got matched up with someone he can out-coach in a critical game. Or perhaps someone that will out-coach himself for McCarthy. 😉

    At least it was an interesting game. When they spiked it I kind of thought it was weird. But made a little sense to conserve the timeout.

    Always think it’s best to “go for the kill” when you have the chance. Dallas seemed to be content to tie it.

  18. The first team willing to keep feeding the ball to their top WR until Green Bay proves they can stop them will beat the Packers handily.

    Will see if Atlanta does it next weekend. Julio could easily have 20 catches against this injury-destroyed secondary that GB is trotting out there with.

    Dez should have had 15.

  19. and you’d think he was a rookie coach, but nope he’s a veteran still making calls like a rookie

  20. Out coached and out played. Not knowing the rules and getting an unsportsmanlike to kill a scoring chance. Dropped passes. Penalties. Worst time to have a bad day but they only had 2 weeks to prepare! Lol

  21. Some of these Comments Ceack me up, People Need to realize this Entire Season Rested on the Hands Of Two Rookies, And I guarantee No one Ever Thought they’d Get this Far in Week One. It Just Shows what the future holds

  22. As the Penguin once said, “Wank, Wank, Wank!” I was surprised the cameras didn’t pan Jerrah’s box more during the game. That is usually my favorite part. He must have had a look of pain and utter disbelief on his face.

  23. It was the wrong call but only because of how the next two downs played out. If Dallas had gotten the first down then it would have been the right call.

  24. It was a stupid call. Green Bay was on their heals at the time. They couldn’t stop the cowboys. Spiking the ball allowed the defense to get fresh legs out there. Dumb decision especially with over 40 seconds still on the clock.

  25. You know what? Lousy reasoning “Josh”.
    Garret didn’t need the timeout because an incomplete pass stopped the clock. That’s why he didn’t “need it.”

    How the hell do YOU know that “he would have had it anyway.”

    What a stupid criticism.

    Not a Cowboy fan, but second guessing him saving the timeout is dumb. What if they had made it to the one and tried on 3rd down to run it and could not get it in?

    Would have seemed pretty smart to have the timeout THEN, wouldn’t it have been?

  26. The spike didn’t bother me as much as the play calling. Best offensive line, leading rusher in the NFL and he has Zak throwing all over the field. Garrett hasn’t changed much.

  27. Once again coaching (jason garrett) cost the Cowboys. They were unprepared but that wasn’t the worst part, garrett mishandling the end game was par for his course. When you have the better team, (all agreed Dallas was better team) when the better team falls apart in the 1st quarter it’s all on the coaches. What Terry Bradshaw said about Mike Tomlin goes more for garrett than any coach I’ve ever seen. He’s a cheerleader, a rah rah guy and the worst game time coach ever. It saddens me for the team, they could’ve won, they should’ve won, they’re just unable to overcome the lack of coaching. Igu.

  28. “Feels like, at least a little bit, that McCarthy finally got matched up with someone he can out-coach in a critical game. Or perhaps someone that will out-coach himself for McCarthy. 😉”

    Agree with this. It was like Dumb and Dumber.
    For example, at the end of the half, 4th down and 2 seconds left:

    McCarthy chooses to punt down the middle of the field with Beasley there to catch it. Why not just keep Rodgers in and throw a high pass OB to run out the half, instead of risking a bad snap, a fair catch free kick, or a punt return?

    Garrett chooses to fair catch the punt and then NOT try the free kick (which cannot be defended or returned if missed). If he wasn’t going to try a fair catch kick, then why try to catch the punt at all? And why wouldn’t you fair catch it and try the kick when there is no downside?

  29. I think they felt like they were going to get their touchdown and win the game. I don’t fault the spike, because the expectation is they were going to continue driving towards the goalline. Anything can happen, and it helps to have to one TO too use at the right moment.

    They play I have the problem with was the tird down call. Should have been a run, instead of a clock stopping incomplete pass. The Cowboys – even if they didnt get the first running the ball – can at least burn the clock and endure Bailey’s kick is the last play of regulation. Sure, Green Bay could have used one of their two time outs. They probably would have, but that would have been one less in Rodgr’s pocket for the last 30 seconds.

    Tough to disect such a great game that could have gone either way. Proud of the team ad the fight they showed.

  30. I don’t think this was as bad a play as it’s being made out to be. By spiking the ball with 47 seconds you set yourself up to huddle for 2 more downs to get the ball in better FG range. One of the downs needs to be a run, screen or short pass where you can run some clock off. The real problem was only using 12 seconds for those 2 plays. I do feel that not spiking the ball and running a play was the best option.

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