There was another fourth down decision in the game between the Cowboys and the Raiders that hasn’t gotten as much ink as the two other more famous ones that occurred. Everybody has been talking about the decision to go for it on fourth and 1 that led to the famous “index card” decision in the Cowboys favor. And there was also the fake punt decision on fourth and 11. But what about the decision to kick the field goal on fourth down at the half-yard line late in the game?
The game was tied at 17-17. The Cowboys had driven the ball deep into Raiders territory and faced a fourth and officially one, but the ball was even closer than that. The Raiders had one timeout left with 1:47 left on the clock. The safe, conservative route is to take the three points and count on your defense to hold. That’s what Dallas did, and it worked out, but narrowly. Many Cowboys were having flashbacks to the Cowboys loss to Green Bay earlier this season when it looked like Derek Carr was about to score the game-winning touchdown. The defense wouldn’t hold, again. Fate, in the form of Jeff Heath, intervened, and the Cowboys escaped with the win.
Should they have gone with a more aggressive approach when they faced the fourth and 1 at the goal line of the Raiders? Should they have counted on that powerful offensive line to help Dak Prescott sneak it over for a touchdown, or allow a running back to pound it into the end zone? The thinking goes that the defense was suddenly struggling with the Raiders offense, and there was plenty of time left on the clock for a touchdown drive, or a field goal at minimum. If the Cowboys missed, then they would still have the Raiders pinned inches from their goal line.
"I felt our defense was going to have to stop them one way or the other to win the game," the Cowboys owner and general manager said Tuesday morning on 105.3 The Fan's Shan and RJ show [KRLD-FM]. "It was unlikely that they wouldn't get down the field to score. Now, no one has the crystal ball, of course, but if we were going to stop them, our best chance to stop them, even though we didn't have a score on the board, was coming out of the endzone on the one-inch line. Plus, we had the opportunity to make it, and that was probably more than 50 percent.
"And then the idea that usually in the NFL today with two minutes on the clock -- I think they had a timeout -- they're going to get a score. So I thought we should have gone ahead and made the attempt to get it in [the endzone] right there. Of course, even then you still have to stop them.
"I disagree but I didn't mentally lay down in front of the train and thought there was an error. There's no such thing there, that's just make the call."
So Jerry Jones wanted to try and punch it in, while Jason Garrett took the conservative route and the three points.
So who was right, taking away what we know happened in the end? In that moment, what was your gut telling you? Did you have Jerry Jones thoughts, or were you solidly with Garrett’s decision? Remember, if Heath hadn’t made a great play, the Cowboys would likely have lost and the season would be over.
Should Dallas have taken the three points at the end of the game, or tried for the touchdown.
This poll is closed
Garrett is right, you have to get the easy points.
Jones is right, the Cowboys needed to be aggressive and force the issue.