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Why The Cowboys Onside Kick Was A Successful Failure

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Catching an opponent off guard can pay off big time or it can bite you hard. Some days it can do both.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Garrett often faces criticism for 'unimaginative' playcalling. I would be willing to bet that every reader on this site has done that at least once. The Rooster does play things rather conservative for the most part and even when he does gamble it is usually with the odds stacked in his favor. He certainly is not "Riverboat" Ron Rivera.

That is exactly what made the onside kick the Cowboys attempted in the third quarter so successful. Yes, I said successful. Dallas might have placed a sketchy defense in a tenuous position thanks to the end result, but it was the kind of play call I like. It caught the Washington Redskins, and just about everyone else, by surprise. Garrett's Cowboys don't take risks like that; but today they did.

"They were moving the ball a lot. They had three or four drives in a row where they were having some success. They had some success coming out in the second half, so we just wanted to change it. We were doing a good job offensively, wanted to steal a possession there."

It was a good strategy. Dallas took an unexpected risk to try to shift momentum back in their favor. The end result was not what Garrett had planned. The short field enabled Washington to drive for a game-tying field goal, but it was worth the risk. When you toss the dice sometimes you lose.

"Dan's so good at those kinds of plays, wanted to give him a chance, unfortunately it didn't go far enough."

I am a big fan of trying the unexpected at opportune times. Gambling for the sake of taking a risk is not a strategy. Doing so in a situation like the one Dallas found itself in on Sunday is a different story. There was a reason behind the risk, and even when it does not pay off the gamble is justified.

When all was said and done the Cowboys did not pay too high of a price for Garrett doing the unexpected. In the future teams will have to at least consider the possibility of the unexpected. Since they were able to pull out a victory over a division rival while also adding something for future opponents to think about, you can refer to the bold attempt as a successful failure.