The Dallas Cowboys won on Monday night. Securing a win is the most important thing in the game of football and while we’re happy that this was ultimately the result for Dallas, there are questions that are worth asking in hindsight.
There was a moment in the fourth quarter at MetLife (a period in which the Cowboys really dominated) where fans everywhere were split on a decision facing the team’s staff. After Michael Gallup scored his incredible touchdown, should the team have gone for two?
Here was the exact situation
The Cowboys got into the endzone early on in the fourth quarter thanks to Michael Gallup’s insane acrobatics. Right before Gallup galloped (forgive me) into airspace the Cowboys had a one-point lead over the Giants. The touchdown obviously made it a seven-point margin.
At this point the Cowboys were now up by seven points with 12:40 left on the game clock. Both teams had all three timeouts left and the much-debated subject was suddenly thrust into our Twitter feeds:
Should the Cowboys go for two?
Going for two at this point certainly has some merit. As you are presently already up by seven points, a successful two-point conversion would make it a nine-point game. Nine points is obviously two possessions while seven and eight are not, so it all comes down to whether or not you think it’s worth the risk.
There’s logic to both arguments
Electing to kick the extra point in this situation is a fair approach as well considering you make it an eight-point game and put the opposing team in a situation where they not only have to score a touchdown but also get their own successful two-point conversion. Of course, that can happen in one possession which is the bothersome detail.
For what it’s worth, Saquon Barkley immediately put the Giants in scoring position which had people really playing hindsight coach, but the classic go-to chart doesn’t indisputably say that the Cowboys should have tried to make it a nine-point game. They weren’t wrong to play it like they did.
Hey it’s that time of year when people start arguing about whether so-and-so should have gone for 2 in such-and-such situation and I post the answer: pic.twitter.com/oDPgCZpQJs— Benjamin Morris (@skepticalsports) September 9, 2019
This all really was a bit of a push which is rare in the world of analytics. It was more of a “if you think the Cowboys could really pull off the conversion then they should have gone for it” type thing, and really that’s true in all circumstances and not unique to this one.
You can make the argument that Dak Prescott is a weapon that should be used in short-yardage situations because he’s proven to have success there in the past (even on two-point conversions). For what it’s worth, Dak had a four-yard touchdown run the very last time that he was in MetLife Stadium, a late-game score against the New York Jets.
Still, this was an instance where there wasn’t a totally correct answer. It was, as rare as this is, more of a matter of personal preference and when you factor in the fact that the Giants had been so poor on offense it also is fair to lean in the direction of taking the extra point. Our own Tom Ryle put it well when I asked him about it.
I didn’t see a need, despite what the charts and analytics say. The Giants just weren’t showing any ability to score touchdowns on their own, and that held up. Sometimes there is a more intuitive side to these kinds of decisions, and the kick was a more certain move for Dallas. However, it would not have been wrong by any means to try for two. It just became more or less irrelevant on this particular night.
Ryle is correct in that either option is a fine play in this instance. The Cowboys ultimately did surrender a field goal to the Giants on the following series, but they managed to score again two more times which rendered the whole discussion even more moot.
What would you have done if it had been your decision?
Should the Cowboys have gone for two after Michael Gallup’s touchdown against the Giants?
This poll is closed
No, take the extra point
Not against the Giants, but I would have done it against a better opponent (comment the type of opponents in this case)