Mike McCarthy on last play: It didn’t get going, that obviously wasn’t the plan

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers
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The final play of the Cowboys season began with running back Ezekiel Elliott playing center and it ended with a short pass to KaVontae Turpin.

Elliott lined up at center to snap to quarterback Dak Prescott with the rest of the offense spread out across the line of scrimmage for what appeared to be an attempt to complete a pass and then start lateraling the ball around the field. 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shahir steamrolled Elliott right after the snap and pressured Prescott up the middle before the quarterback hit Turpin for a short gain.

49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward tackled Turpin immediately after the catch to touch off a celebration and Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t in any mood to elaborate on what went awry on the final snap for the Cowboys when he spoke to reporters after the game.

“Yeah, it didn’t get going,” McCarthy said, via NBCSportsBayArea.com. “I really don’t want to get into the detail of it, but that obviously wasn’t the plan. It’s obviously a gadget play or whatever. It’s a last-play-situation call that we practice.”

It’s safe to say that the play must have looked a lot different in practice than it looked on the field and the Cowboys will now have months to come up with something else to try the next time they find themselves down to their final snap with a lot of field left to cover.

25 responses to “Mike McCarthy on last play: It didn’t get going, that obviously wasn’t the plan

  1. Completely dumb and had zero chance of success, just throw the hail Mary next time genius.

  2. Two years in a row now the cowboys season ends on to the niners on a goofy McCarthy play call.

  3. As a 49er fan I have to say that I loved the play call. It was the most comically ridiculous thing I have ever seen and seeing Ezekiel Elliot get absolutely steamrolled was amazing. 10 out of 10 Mike.

  4. That type of play has little chance of working, but it was desperation time. I’m sure the idea behind the play was to take all the slow linemen off the field so there were better options when it came to lateralling around the field. How many times have you seen a bunch of laterals on a play like that get blown up because a slow lineman is forced to catch one of them? It happens all the time. The play was not a bad idea at all IMHO. It was simply horribly executed, but, like the rest of the game, that was on Dak. You can’t throw the ball that high and make Turpin jump to catch it. He needs to catch it with his feet on the ground so he can start running and looking for people to lateral to. I doubt it would have worked, but it was the best option given the situation and field position. If Schultz hadn’t stupidly forgotten to get a second foot down, they would have been in position to try a hail mary. Still a low percentage play, but not as low as the lateral-around-the-field option.

    The Cowboys didn’t deserve to win anyway. The defense played a really good game but missed a few opportunities. The offense (Dak in particular) was atrocious again. The football IQ on this team is horrible. Schultz with two stupid plays in a row. Then Turpin should have had six on that return, but he inexplicably cut inside and tried to run over the kicker. All he had to do was take it outside around the blocker and he was gone. I really can’t understand why people are so high on him and how he made the Pro Bowl. He leaves way too many yards on the field by making poor decisions.

  5. A common theme with this team. Didn’t they have an issue last year against the Vikings where Dak ran a QB sneak and they couldn’t stop the clock at the end of the game?

  6. It was actually a bit of comic relief. The design and execution was so bad that the only thing worse would have been a pick six.

  7. Runningback hiking the ball, there’s a defensive player unguarded at the line of scrimmage ready to clock the QB, forcing him to throw a dart to a player that’s getting blind sided by a defensive back not playing prevent. Classic McCarthy LOL.

    Jerruh is obviously going to fire him, but if there was any doubt, that was the final nail.

  8. It’s a last-play-situation call that we practice.


    I’m sure they did not practice Elliot hiking the ball and getting hit. Huge difference blocking a guy you see coming into the backfield vs having to backpedal into a stance after hiking the ball.

    Either way the Cowboys last play in their 2 playoff games vs the 49ers have been embarrassing and memorable.

    Looking forward to yet another offseason where all the media tells everyone, yet again, how the cowboys are going to the SuperBowl. 27+ years and counting.

  9. What NONSENSE. They were 76 yards away. There’s not a single play call that had any realistic chance of scoring anyways.

  10. McCarthy will get vilified for this loss and Cowboy keyboard warriors will call for Sean Payton who they’ve been told is some kind of genius coach. Truth is, McCarthy and Payton have almost exactly the same career winning percentage and both were able to win only one Super Bowl with a hall of fame caliber quarterback. The only differences between them are (1) McCarthy got fired for not winning more, while Payton had three straight losing seasons and didn’t get fired, and (2) Payton quit on his team when the hall of fame QB retired and they were in cap hell and (3) Payton is riding on a hype train not based on facts.

  11. Same old story for the past thirty years, team not fully prepared, lacks details in planning and practice, looks like most of practice time is spent on how to celebrate after they make a tackle 10 yards down the field or get a 5 yard reception, QB in over his head with a bad thumb, and many bone head plays/penalties….don’t see any change until the owner/GM/team medical doctor/defacto head coach is put out to pasture.

  12. A common theme with this team. Didn’t they have an issue last year against the Vikings where Dak ran a QB sneak and they couldn’t stop the clock at the end of the game?

    Nope. It was the wildcard game against San Francisco last year.

  13. Of all the things to rightfully question this doesn’t really seem worth the effort. They were 75 yards away so nothing was a realistic play. I will say I expected the pass to be out to the side sort of like a screen and then have guys peeling off behind for laterals. I don’t really understand how it was going to work throwing over the middle like that.

  14. I LOVED the last play call and the Boys getting decked and crying again about losing. They are not nor have ever been Americas team. Only their blowhard fans think that. Most of the country loves to see them lose.

  15. During practice the big defensive lineman don’t get to steamroll RB and others pretending to be O-Line/Center.

  16. Wasn’t it somewhat odd that the referee delayed the start of the play a few seconds to announce that Elliott was ineligible? I’ve heard announcements say that a player (usually an extra linemen entering the game) was eligible, but I can’t recall EVER hearing a player announced as ineligible. That short delay might have provided the 49ers players with extra seconds to think of and prepare blasting Elliott as well as Turpin to kingdom come.

  17. This looks like a variation of the A-11 offense. But the A-11 makes some sense. You have a center, two TE’s lined up as guards, a RB, and everyone else is a receiver of some sort. Every player is in theory eligible. McCarthy’s plan was likely to have these quick players on the field (no big linemen) to run circles around the 49er defense. But their set up was almost as bad as their execution, which they botched (like much the rest of the game). They were going to lose anyway. They had the ball on the 24.

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