Kellen Moore was touted as an offensive genius three games into the season. Now?
Everyone is second guessing the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator after the play calling at the end of a 28-24 loss to the Vikings. Everyone, that is, except owner Jerry Jones, head coach Jason Garrett and the Cowboys players.
“No, I’m not going to get into [second guessing the play calling],” Jones said. “Since it didn’t work, we’d all like to have that back.”
The Cowboys had second-and-two from the Minnesota 11 with 1:33 remaining. They ran Ezekiel Elliott up the middle despite struggles running the ball all night. The Vikings stuffed him at the line of scrimmage.
“I’m not going to question the play calling,” quarterback Dak Prescott said. “There were opportunities.”
On third-and-two, the Cowboys had a run-pass option. Prescott flipped it to Elliott, who lost 3 yards.
“Just an RPO. It was a good read,” Elliott said. “There really wasn’t anywhere to go.”
On fourth-and-five, Prescott tried to throw it to Elliott, who was tightly covered by Eric Kendricks. The ball fell incomplete, ending the Cowboys’ last best chance to win.
“I don’t want to get into all the details of the play, but there were a number of different options on the play based on what they play,” Garrett said. “They heat you up, you’ve got some answers. They play certain kinds of zones, you have some answers. You play man-to-man, you have some answers. We wanted to give Dak some different options, depending on what they were going to play in some critical situations.”
Garrett was asked the thought process of the final three play calls.
“Obviously, we were trying to score a touchdown,” Garrett said. “We got into a second-and-short situation, and we tried to run it a couple of times just to get the first down, and they did a good job defending the runs and it went to a fourth-down situation, and we just weren’t able to convert.”
The Cowboys gained 50 net rushing yards. Elliott gained 47 yards on 20 carries. The Cowboys’ longest run of the night was a 7-yarder by Tavon Austin.
And, for only the third time in team history, the Cowboys failed to pick up a rushing first down.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but they’re a pro team, too,” Elliott said. “They did a good job bottling up the run. They were better than us.”