The NFC East has been the laughingstock of the NFL in 2020 and with good reason. After all, the Philadelphia Eagles enter Week 12 with a 3-6-1 record and, somehow, that is good enough to lead the division with six weeks to play. Still, the mess was on full display on Thanksgiving afternoon and, for most of the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Football team, the football was entertaining enough. Then, early in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys made quite a flub that caused everyone to (rightly) poke fun at them for both decision-making and execution.
Trailing 20-16 with approximately 13 minutes left in the game, the Cowboys faced a 4th and 10 from their own 24-yard line. This would be an obvious spot for a punt but, well, you can see what transpired.
Not only is a fake punt an incredibly low percentage play in this situation when accounting for down, distance and location on the field, attempting this exact call makes it worse. Having to cover ten yards in a situation in which Washington should be on high alert is not exactly conducive to trickeration that involves a weird reverse that goes a full 13 yards behind the line of scrimmage, and the Cowboys paid dearly for this mistake.
Fittingly, Washington took over and scored on the very next play, with a 23-yard touchdown scamper from Antonio Gibson. That gave the Football Team an 11-point lead and, while it didn’t end the game, it is fair to say that the Cowboys’ win expectancy dropped significantly and it happened in a hurry. Dallas may not have stopped Washington if they punted the ball away, but everyone can agree this wasn’t an optimal approach from Mike McCarthy and company, and it also could have cost the Cowboys the game in a spot where they are still alive in the division race.