David J. Phillip/Associated Press
The Dallas Cowboys opted to punt from the Houston Texans‘ 42-yard line on fourth-and-1 during Sunday night’s 19-16 overtime loss, and after the game, owner Jerry Jones wasn’t thrilled with the decision.
“We were being outplayed,” he said, per ESPN.com. “It’s time for risks at that particular time.”
He added he wasn’t “second-guessing” head coach Jason Garrett with those comments, though given the Texans drove down the field for a game-winning field goal after the punt, Jones’ comments felt like a critique of Garrett’s decision-making.
Star running back Ezekiel Elliott also commented on the decision, though he finished short of being critical of Garrett in his remarks.
“I really don’t remember the field position we were in, but obviously, you would like a chance to go for it on fourth-and-1,” he said, “but I don’t know if that was the best decision right there.”
The punt pinned the Texans on their own 10-yard line, though just eight plays later, Ka’imi Fairbairn hit the game-winning 36-yard field goal for the Texans.
“You know, we had a third-and-2 and we didn’t make much on it and we just felt like at that point in the game, the way our defense was playing, the idea was to pin them down there,” Garrett told reporters after the game.
Quarterback Dak Prescott concurred.
“In that case you don’t question the coach’s decision,” he said, per the team’s website. “The defense had been playing good all night. They kept us in the game for a bunch of the game, from the second quarter. In the fourth quarter they gave us a chance all day long.”
The loss dropped Dallas to 2-3, costing them a chance to move ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) in the standings and make up ground against Washington (2-1). They remain ahead of the New York Giants (1-4) in an NFC East that looks wide open at the moment.
If the Cowboys are going to win their third divisional title in the past five years, however, they’ll need to win games like Sunday’s overtime loss. In turn, it might mean taking a few more calculated risks.