Mike McCarthy Defends Embarrassing Failed Punt Play During Blowout Loss
The final score between the Cowboys and Washington was a 41-16 loss. It was surprisingly a close game throughout the first three quarters before Washington came out to clobber the Cowboys in the fourth quarter. By the end of the third quarter, the Cowboys were trailing 20-16. However, it was one failed play from Dallas that caused Washington to go on to a run.
In the fourth quarter with just 12 minutes remaining in the game, Dallas had to punt the ball away from their 24-yard line. They just needed to punt the ball to force Washington farther away from their endzone. However, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy opted for a fake punt play.
The play had safety Darian Thompson take the snap, run left and pitch it to Cedrick Wilson who turned back toward the center off the field. Wilson had the option to run with it or throw it to punter Hunter Niswander. However, Washington was prepared for the fake punt play, as their linebacker Khaleke Hudson eliminated Wilson’s passing option to Niswander. This allowed Wilson to stop Wilson.
Dallas tried a fake punt in the 4th Qtr.
It did not work.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 27, 2020
The failed punt play allowed Washington to score an easy touchdown and torch Dallas as they went on to score 21 unanswered points.
McCarthy has since defended the decision for the fake punt play. “It was a solid play call. It’s a good play design,” he said. “You won’t get anywhere if you’re thinking about negatives all the time. There’s obviously film study that goes into the call and when to call it. But when you call it, you’re obviously looking to convert it. You obviously understand on fourth-down calls what your options are. You either convert it or you don’t convert it. The flow of the game, all those things are factored into that decision. I’m very confident in our players and put them into position to make plays.”
For Washington, it gives them a lead on top of the abysmal NFC East division. Washington is now four wins and seven losses but it gives them the division lead. For Dallas, they are on their way to the NFL lottery.