Jerry Jones questioned Jason Garrett’s decision to punt on fourth-and-one from the Houston 42-yard line in overtime. But Garrett isn’t second guessing it, even though the Cowboys never saw the ball again as the Texans kicked a game-winning field goal.
Garrett, who said he explained his thought process to the Cowboys owner, was asked about his decision multiple times in multiple ways Monday.
“I think the reasoning is the same,” Garrett said. “We’ve been aggressive going for it on fourth down. That’s been a good thing for us. But not every fourth-down situation is the same. I think we’re on the 42-yard line. It was a long 1. I was standing right there. So it was probably a hard and a half when we had it. We had a play that we liked. Unfortunately, they did a good job coming in and stuffing that. Actually we probably lost a little bit on the third-down play. So it got you to fourth and really kind of close to 2. We just felt like in that situation, the way our defense was playing [it was the right decision].
“. . .They had seven or eight possessions in a row where we stopped them. Certainly when they had the ball back in their own territory, starting inside the 25-yard line, they didn’t cash in on anything. It just made sense to us, to me at that time, to go ahead and play field position. Give [punter] Chris Jones a chance to trap them on the 10-yard line. Let’s go play defense. Physically over the course of the game, we were really wearing them out. Our defensive line was getting to their runner, was getting to the quarterback. They weren’t really effective driving the ball or scoring points. We just felt like at that point, that’s the way we wanted to play it.”
Garrett went for it on fourth-and-one from the Detroit 3 in the third quarter of their Week Four game, later explaining, “When you have a belief in the guys up front and you can hand the ball to 21 [Ezekiel Elliott], and you feel good about that, that’s really where the decision-making process starts.”
Since Elliott joined the Cowboys in 2016, the Cowboys have converted 18-of-19 fourth-and-1 situations, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.
But since Garrett became the team’s head coach, the Cowboys have faced fourth down and 3 or fewer yards in a competitive game — within two scores — across midfield 92 times, according to Jared Dubin of CBS. Garrett punted 17 times, tried a field goal 47 times and, despite having a 75 percent success rate, chose to go for it only 28 times.
Jones said after Sunday’s game he felt the situation called for “risks at that particular time.”