The Dallas Cowboys had a brutal Sunday at home, and you can pick one of just about a dozen reasons they lost to the 49ers, despite San Francisco not playing its best game and making some bizarre decisions of their own.
There were drops due to the sun coming through the giant windows at AT&T Stadium, painfully conservative decision-making on punts and field goals, failing to properly execute their set-up play for a game-winning touchdown and letting the clock run out after a QB draw with 14 seconds left, and some other brutal penalties at awful times throughout the game.
On that latter note, the Cowboys and their fans were not happy with a number of the calls, but for the most part the general consensus among impartial observers was that it was an incredible lack of discipline from the Cowboys that led to 14 flags on them throughout the game. After the game, fans were throwing bottles as the team came off the field, and some thought it was aimed at the players, but that was also when the referees were leaving the field and it seemed more likely that was who was the target.
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) January 17, 2022
In his postgame presser, Dak Prescott was asked about that, and after initially admonishing fans for throwing things at the players, he did a 180 and said it was a “credit to them” when informed it was likely aimed at the referees, before ripping into the officials further.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: “The fans felt the same way as us. I guess that’s why the refs took off and got out of there so fast. I think everybody is upset with the way this thing played out.” https://t.co/39p4x4itkE pic.twitter.com/bj1nHCuIfu
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) January 17, 2022
That will obviously lead to a fine for Prescott, but it’s also pretty terrible to advocate for fans to throw things at anyone, no matter your frustrations with the officiating. It was a lot of flags, for sure, but Dallas also led the league in penalties this season with 127, so it wasn’t exactly uncharacteristic for them. Given the officiating debacle in Cincinnati on Saturday and the widespread agreement on that being just flat out bad (on both sides), the lack of such outcry generally about the Dallas game seems to speak volumes about where the issues really were for the Cowboys.
Prescott and the Cowboys seemed most upset about their inability to get the snap off before trying to clock the ball at the end of the game, but that was, as Tony Romo explained in the booth, also an issue of Dallas not executing that situation properly, because it’s not a new rule that the ball has to be set by the umpire and they tried to give the ball to the center to put it down instead of finding the umpire and letting him set it, creating the chaotic final sequence.