The Play: Gutsy fake punt helps Cowboys stay in hunt

DALLAS - One thing I’ve always disliked about the human condition is our general inability to truly discern chaos. We look at stars, our random view of massive explosions that happened thousands or millions of years before we see them, and we decide ‘Yeah, let’s pretend that one’s a horsie, and that one’s a bucket, and over there is the bigger bucket!’.

We look at clouds and see rabbits and the profile of a President long dead from an assassin’s bullet. We look at Dallas 20, Oakland 17 and what do we see?

This was a disjointed, funhouse mirror view of a sports game. Nothing about this game made sense. Even before it ended with a touchback call - how, again, did we decide that fumbling the ball out of your opponent’s end zone is a capitol offense? - we had:

  • A fourth down call decided by an index card. No, not a rule written on an index card, a ref used an index card to measure the spot for a first down

  • A fake punt. On 4th and 11. From Dallas. That worked!

  • A 55 yard penalty on a Fourth and 10 that would have salted the game for Dallas

  • That penalty came two plays after Anthony Brown dropped a gimme interception - of note, it bounced off his shoulder pads, that house the tattoo of a Wavy Lay’s that I theorize ruined his life

  • I literally lost count of Oakland points lost due to iffy penalty calls, but let’s say, conservatively, 14. They also missed a field goal that they maybe also made? The ball went nearly directly over the goal post

  • Marshawn Lynch.

How does a person look at that jumbled mess of chaos, and make sense enough of it to choose the biggest play of the game? It’s all just imaginary lines between random stars, light years away from each other.

The Play: 4:37 in the 3rd Quarter, 4th and 11 at the Dallas 24

First: Jason Garrett doesn’t get the credit for this play call - Chris Jones said he audibled to it, and I’m gonna believe him, because Garrett has the same general risk taking as a packet of saltines.

There’s not much to say. Chris Jones read a big ol’ hole on the right side - similar to what Alfred Morris was seeing the first quarter that predictably disappeared, as Dallas doesn’t really do in-game adjustments. 24 yards later, Dallas had a new life, and instead of a 10-all tie, Dallas took a 17-10 lead after Dak Prescott scooted in from five yards as the third quarter was down to its final minute.

The Raiders would answer with a TD, and the teams would trade three-and-outs before the Folded Paper Moment led to the deciding field goal, which eventually led to the (truly) deciding touchback.

Dallas’s playoff hopes remain technically alive for another week and one that will see Ezekiel Elliott return from his suspension/beach running photo opp. My prediction for next week? I’ll paraphrase Josh Hamilton and say ‘It’s the Dallas Cowboys, guys… of course it’s going to be weird.”

 

Share tips with Joe on Twitter @thejoeursery on how you manage to survive the weekly chaos that is the Dallas Cowboys.

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