The Play: Cowboys find out how costly leverage can be

DALLAS - Ever think about Black Swan events?

I do. I think about ‘em a lot. Probably more than is healthy. Should you dedicate resources to prevention, or mitigation, or response? I don’t have answers. Maybe that’s why they fascinate me. You can’t stop (most) of them, you just hope you can save as much and as many as humanly possible and learn to live again the next day.

It’s looking back on Black Swans that is really so fascinating though. There’s this hindsight, where a prevention or mitigation was readily available, and someone was shouting for it, but it was ignored, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for poor. There’s always something to learn.

I’m not saying Denver 42, Dallas 17 was a Black Swan event. There are orders of magnitude in human suffering between them and this. But I’m also not sure that there’s anything worth learning from this. “What do we learn?” “I guess we learned, not to do it again.”

The Play: DeMarcus Lawrence’s oopsie on a Field Goal attempt, 4th and 22, from the DAL 32, 6:48 in the second quarter

Let’s get something out of the way; throughout this game, roughly five Cowboys regularly looked like NFL players. Tank Lawrence was one of them. Heck, just one play prior, he sacked Trevor Siemian for a loss of 13 yards to get the team off the field on third down, pushing the field goal attempt from a relative gimme at 36 to a sweater at 49.

The score was 7-7, built largely off of Lawrence’s strip-sack of Siemian one drive earlier. Dallas has a knack of adjusting in-game going back to last season; weathering this early storm could make a game of it.

And the 50 yarder was good… except, officials determined Tank used the backs of Denver’s lineman to boost himself up for a block attempt, and that turned 4th and 22 at the 32 to 1st and 10 at the 17, and 10-7 to 14-7 three plays later, as C.J. Anderson would claim Jeff Heath’s ankles and soul on a 16 yard TD.

Let’s stop a bit and discuss officiating. Obviously, Dallas was not ready for the opening coin toss, so there’s no blaming the officiating, but it was impossible to not notice a call like this, or the iffy Dez Bryant OPI call that wiped out a big gain, or any number of calls that seemed to slide Denver’s way.

I’d never ascribe to malevolence what can be ascribed to incompetence (particularly watching this cartoonish NFL administration operate) but… the Cowboys are square in the middle of a high profile lawsuit against the NFL. I’m going to stop this line of thought here, but… it’s a question worth asking, as the season (and lawsuit) rolls on.

The score would never get closer, On the upside, if you’re available Monday, the team will almost certainly be holding tryouts for cornerback, so dust off that resume and those track shoes, loosen up your hamstrings, and go make McDongle High, Class of 1996 proud!
 

Is an automatic first down for touch the back of a ducking opponent the dumbest penalty in the NFL? Tell Joe why the answer is yes on Twitter @thejoeursery.

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