The Cowboys simply cannot play big games without some type of major controversy. Sunday’s chaotic ending against the 49ers in the wild-card round might have set a new standard for postseason mayhem.
Dallas mounted an impressive comeback, cutting a 23-7 fourth-quarter deficit to 23-17. With less than a minute remaining, the Cowboys got the ball at their own 20-yard line with no timeouts remaining, so they began to throw quick passes and play the sideline game. They subsequently drove to San Francisco’s 41-yard line with 14 seconds remaining. Then, everything went haywire.
The Cowboys ran a quarterback draw, with Dak Prescott scampering up the middle to the 49ers’s 24-yard line. That caught everybody by surprise as the seconds contiued to run down. After sliding to end his run, Prescott got up and handed the ball to his center, who got ready to snap it. However, by rule, the referee must touch and spot the ball before the next play can begin. As the umpire ran from behind the play to do so, he collided with Prescott and the offensive line, which delayed the play even more and time ran out on Dak Prescott and the Cowboys.
The final sequence certainly looked odd, but referee Alex Kemp explained after the game that the officiating crew’s execution was by the books.
“The umpire spotted the ball properly,” Kemp told the pool reporter.
As far as the collision with the ref and the players…It did not matter.
“No,” Kemp said. “He collided with the players as he was setting the ball because he was moving it to the proper spot.”
Kemp further explained that the umpire was “absolutely” a reasonable distance away from the play.
“We’re trailing the play, keeping a proper distance so that we can identify fouls, if there are any,” Kemp said. “Once the play is over, the umpire immediately goes to spot the ball, and that’s what he did.”
Coach Mike McCarthy wanted the officials to review how much time was left on the clock after the final play, but the call was deemed correct by the officiating crew. As a result, they didn’t consult the NFL’s replay center in New York, per Kemp, because there was no error on the play.
It ended what started as a promising season for the Cowboys and will now start a hectic offseason.
WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.