News and Commentary

Penalties, Bizarre Final Play Call Ends Dallas Cowboys’ Season
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys walks off the field after losing to the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys played sloppy, undisciplined football on Sunday, and they’ll be watching the rest of the playoffs from home once again.

With a torturous 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card Game, the Cowboys have now failed to reach the conference championship game in 11 straight playoff appearances, an NFL record according to ESPN.

The game ended as it should, with Dallas making a bonehead play. 

With 32 seconds left in the game, Dallas was given one last chance to extend their season, taking over at their own 20-yard line down 23-17. The Cowboys were able to march down to the San Francisco 41-yard line with 14 seconds left. With no timeouts left, Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore called a bizarre quarterback draw, instead of taking a shot into the endzone. 

Quarterback Dak Prescott managed to get down to the San Francisco 24-yard line, but with no timeouts, the Dallas offense had to hurry to the line in order to spike the ball. Per NFL rules, a referee must place the ball before it can be snapped. As Dallas lined up to spike the ball in order to stop the clock, umpire Ramon George collided with Prescott as he attempted to spot the football. The clock ran out before Prescott was able to spike the football, ending the Cowboys season in the most fitting of ways. 

“We’ve practiced it,” Prescott said. “You hand it to the center. The umpire, all he has to do is usually come in and tap the ball. Don’t necessarily know exactly … why the hit [with the official] happened, I guess. Yeah, I know he’s going to come in and touch the ball. We could say, yeah he needs to be closer to the ball or whatever, but in hindsight it’s just tough. Just tough to accept.”

With no timeouts remaining, the decision to call a designed quarterback run will be questioned in Dallas for years to come. 

Head coach Mike McCarthy called the play the Cowboys’ “best option,” though Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters that his team never should have been in that position to begin with.

“The team should not have been in a position to make that last play be something controversial,” Jones said. “I’m not going to make it bigger than it is.”

Dallas — the most penalized team in the NFL during the regular season — committed 14 penalties on the day, including a defensive holding penalty on San Francisco’s final drive which allowed the 49ers to run more time off of the clock. 

The win by San Francisco was the first road win for the 49ers in the storied history of the Cowboys-49ers rivalry. 

“I’m still trying to figure out where I’m at,” San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game. “It’s pretty emotional out there. Lots of opportunities to win the game. Those guys [Cowboys] just kept fightin’. We made a couple mistakes there at the end. We shouldn’t have let it get there.”

San Francisco will head to Lambeau Field next week to take on Aaron Rodgers and the NFC’s No. 1 seed Green Bay Packers. 

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.