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Cowboys news: Jason Garrett endures heavy criticism from everywhere after decision to punt

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Dallas Cowboys v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The postmortem on the Cowboys’ disappointing loss to the Texans continues with many focusing squarely on head coach Jason Garrett.

Jerry Jones was right about the Cowboys’ terrible 4th-down decision - Ryan Van Bibber,
Van Bibber echoed many others in criticizing Garret’s conservative overtime decision-making.

I’m going to say something that folks who cover the NFL haven’t have reason to say in a long time — Jerry Jones was right.

In overtime of Sunday night’s loss to the Texans, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett opted to punt on fourth-and-1 from Houston’s 42-yard line on the first possession of the extra frame. That needlessly cautious decision gave Houston the ball back, and they drove 72 yards down the field to kick the game-winning goal.

After the game, Jones called out his coach.

“We were being outplayed. It’s time for risks at that particular time.”

He’s right.

The Morning After: Garrett punts away the Cowboys’ chance at an ugly road win – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
The decision by Garrett has everyone taking aim, including Sturm.

But that decision last night was horrendous. If you built your team to be physical and to fight for that last yard, then doggone it, load them up and give it to #21 behind Martin or Smith, and live and die with the peace of mind that you took your best shot.

Everyone knows Jason Garrett doesn’t have Troy Aikman or Emmitt Smith or Michael Irvin or Jay Novacek available. Fine. But, you might have the best running back in the game and you are on the Houston side of the field with the whole football world watching.

What are you going to do in that one moment in time? You have been successful 95% of the times you needed one yard in the last three seasons. But you are also the only coach to punt twice in that situation, and you share a division with Doug Pederson — who won a Super Bowl because he thinks it is idiotic to punt when your team knows they will get that yard.

What A Sorry Way To Lose A game - Mickey Spagnola,
Even the Mothership laments an opportunity missed, citing the good things the team did in a losing effort.

Look, how do you lose a game when your defense doesn’t give up more than 16 points over four quarters?

How do you lose a game when facing five goal-to-goal situations, two starting at your 9, one each from the 6 and 4, and only give up 16 points, and actually shut down the Texans with no points on a first-and-goal at the one?

How do you lose a game when you’re the 32nd ranked team in the NFL when it comes to takeaways, with all of two in four games, and not only do you get two in this game, but also record your first interception of the season?

How do you lose a game, dropping your record to 2-3, when playing before a Texans’ franchise-record crowd of 72,008 thanks to at least a third of those, and maybe more, actually cheering for you?

And how the heck do you lose when no one will argue with free safety Xavier Woods saying afterward, “We played our tails off.”

Jason Garrett Odds-on Favorite to Be 1st NFL Head Coach Fired After Texans Loss - Joseph Zucker, Bleacher Report
The calls for Jason Garrett’s ouster are growing louder and he’s now the favorite to be the first to lose his job.

Oddsmakers have Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett as the favorite to be fired first during the 2018 NFL season.

Garrett is +350 to get his walking papers, with Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter in second at +500, per Brandon Lee Gowton of SB Nation’s Bleeding Green Nation.

The Cowboys fell to 2-3 on Sunday night with a 19-16 overtime defeat to the Houston Texans.

They now sit 28th in total offense (307.8 yards per game) and 30th in scoring (16.6 points per game). Dallas’ offensive struggles would be enough to put Garrett on the hot seat.

Scout’s Eye: Where Were The Passing Breakdowns? - Bryan Broaddus,
At the Mothership, a break down of a number of interesting plays, including how a wily veteran Texans receiver was able to continually get open.

It was amazing how many times DeAndre Hopkins was allowed to push off from coverage while running his routes. I give him credit. If the officials are not going to call it, then he should continue to do it. On the Texans’ final drive in overtime, Hopkins clearly shoved Anthony Brown at the top of the route to buy space. The mistake Brown made was that, instead of staying on Hopkins’ hip, he tried to undercut the route and the ball went over the top of him. That gave Hopkins a good two yards of separation up the field. I will also say this: if Deshaun Watson doesn’t spin away from DeMarcus Lawrence, that ball is getting knocked out of his hands.

Welcome to the NFC East where .500 is good enough to be in first place - Dan Graziano,
An update on the sad state of the NFC East.

The Dallas Cowboys could have been 3-2 after Sunday night's game here against the Houston Texans if they'd been able to make a couple of big plays in the passing game. The defending champion Philadelphia Eagles could have been 3-2 if they'd been able to win a home game against the team they beat by 31 in the NFC Championship Game a little more than eight months ago. Even the woebegone New York Giants could have climbed to within a game of .500 if not for Carolina hitting a 63-yard field goal on them as time ran out.

But those are all "ifs," and none of them came in, so every NFC East team that played Sunday lost and is under .500 five weeks into the season.

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett says he explained OT punt decision to Jerry Jones - Todd Archer,
The owner openly second-guessed the coach and that apparently led a meeting of the minds to clear the air.

After the game, Jones was critical of the decision to punt on fourth-and-1 at the Houston 42 since the Cowboys did not regain possession and lost on a 36-yard field goal by Ka'imi Fairbairn with 1 minute, 50 seconds to play in overtime.

"We were being outplayed there, not out-efforted but we were outplayed," Jones said Sunday. "But it's time for risk at that particular time. That's not second-guessing, but we were taking some risk too at certain points in the game."

After the game, Garrett defended the decision because he was relying on a defense that forced three punts, created two turnovers and gave up just two field goals in the second half. On Monday, Garrett relayed the message to Jones during their meeting.

"We talked about the thought process behind that and why we made the decision like that based on how we were playing on defense in particular and what the details of the circumstances were," Garrett said.

Audibles at the Line: Week 5 - Staff, Football Outsiders
The always interesting (and often snarky) Football Outsiders staff provides live commentary on all of Sunday’s games.

Aaron Schatz: Well maybe we learned why the Texans didn't try a quarterback sneak in the first half, because in the second half they just got it down to the 1 again, this time on a DPI in the end zone, and they went handoff, sneak, pass, and none of those plays got in. The sneak in particular was telegraphed to the Cowboys pretty strongly so the defensive tackles easily filled the gaps. They kick the field goal this time on fourth-and-goal from the 1, so it is now 16-13 Texans.

Make that 16-16 Texans and we're going to go to overtime. My god has Deshaun Watson taken a beating in this game.

Scott Kacsmar: We need to start holding "invest in offensive line and star running back" teams more accountable when they do something like punt on fourth-and-1 in opponent territory in overtime. Jason Garrett did that and the Texans should get the win after a big YAC play by Hopkins.

Rivers McCown: I'm glad Bill O'Brien got to show his red zone prowess to the entire nation tonight. I hope you learned what I have to put up with on a weekly basis.

Point to the letdown in OT all you want, but blaming Cowboys' defense for loss to Texans is a hard sale - Brandon George, SportsDay
The Cowboys’ defense was the epitome of bend but don’t break against the Texans, surround copious yards and few points.

How good was the defense? Consider this:

The Texans reached the red zone six times and came away with only one touchdown. The other four red-zone possessions produced only nine points.

What's more: The Texans had five drives on which they had goal-to-go opportunities and reached the end zone only once.

The Texans could have put the Cowboys in a huge hole late in the first half when Dallas made a goal-line stand to stay in the game.

Late in the second quarter, the Texans had first-and-goal from the 9. Deshaun Watson had back-to-back incomplete passes to set up third-and-goal from the 9.

Watson then found Hopkins over the middle. Safety Jeff Heath hit him as he caught the ball, and Hopkins fell down just inches from the goal line.

That forced a fourth-and-goal from the 1. The Texans -- already up 10-6 and set to get the ball first in the second half -- went for it.

Watson took the snap from shotgun and scrambled to his right. Linebacker Jaylon Smith covered a lot of ground quickly to nail Watson for a 1-yard loss near the sideline.

Is Jason Garrett punting on the Cowboys' 2018 season, too? - Matt Moseley, SportsDay
Former Cowboys’ beat writer Matt Mosely gives his Monday thoughts on the Sunday Night loss.

If everyone on the offensive staff gets canned along with Jason Garrett at the end of the season, a lot of it will have to do with this lackluster group of wide receivers. Everyone from Stephen Jones to the scouting department should take a bow for this beauty. When quarterback Dak Prescott desperately needed help Sunday, Deonte Thompson couldn't make a low grab. It wasn't that surprising since we literally have zero expectations for this group. Both of Prescott's interceptions came on balls that caromed off the receivers. He overshot Tavon Austin a bit on a crossing pattern and the ball bounced off his hands for an interception. Cole Beasley is probably the Cowboys' best receiver, and he ended up with one catch. Then Allen Hurns, whose one catch was for a touchdown, had the audacity to tell reporters to turn on the film and discover how much separation the receivers were getting. Good thing Allen's looking out for his quarterback.

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