clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cowboys 3rd and 14 conversion shows execution is the difference between bad play-call and gutsy play-call

New, comments

Dak Prescott converts and now Scott Linehan is off the hook.

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

3rd and 14. The Dallas Cowboys are at the Seattle Seahawks 17-yard line with 2:34 left on the clock in a Wild Card playoff game. Dallas clings to a three-point lead, 17-14, and look destined to kick a field goal to go up 20-14. That would have perfectly set up Russell Wilson to drive the field and break the hearts of Cowboys fans everywhere with a last-second, game-winning touchdown.

There aren’t a lot of good plays to convert a 3rd and 14. I can guarantee you almost no one thought a quarterback draw would be a good call. A fade to the end zone maybe. Perhaps some kind of screen. Flood a zone on a roll out is a possibility. So many options that involve passing, but not a lot of chance at success.

Scott Linehan shocked us all with a quarterback draw. And Dak Prescott made it happen. He ran for 16 yards to convert the first down and set the Cowboys up for an easy touchdown one play later.

End result, Cowboys Nation thrills to Dak Prescott’s conversion, and Linehan’s call is not pilloried.

But, imagine if Prescott was unable to pull off those heroics and the Cowboys failed to convert. Linehan would be facing the slings and arrows of the rowdy Cowboys fanbase. They would say the Cowboys just gave up on the play. That the Cowboys didn’t even give themselves a chance by slinging the ball into the end zone. Maybe make a miraculous reception or pick up a defensive penalty to convert the first down. And that rowdy fanbase would be within their rights to howl and scream over a quarterback draw on 3rd and 14. Of all the low percentage plays there, quarterback draw is probably among the lowest.

But when it works, when you catch the defense by surprise, and when your quarterback breaks a tackle and goes airborne to get the the first down - the play-call is golden, gutsy, a gem. Sometimes the difference between a bad play-call, and a gutsy one, is execution.

Congrats to Dak Prescott, no one owes you more than Scott Linehan.