Jason Garrett’s decision to punt on 4th-and-1 in overtime was panned by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. On Monday, the head coach defended the conservative play call that preceded a game-winning Houston Texans drive on 105.3 The Fan.
“Well obviously it didn’t work out for us,” Garrett said when asked if he regretted the decision, according to The Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota.
“Our defense had made some really good stops. The idea was simply to see if we could make another stop, make a first down and kick the game-winner.”
On four occasions in the Texans’ Week 5 victory, Deshaun Watson drove Houston to within three yards of the end zone without scoring a touchdown, setting for three field goals and a turnover on downs.
Despite the impressive goal-line stands, Dallas was unsuccessful in limiting overall yardage, surrendering 462 yards from scrimmage.
On the play before Garrett’s decision to punt, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott handed off to running back Ezekiel Elliott out of the shotgun for a rush up the middle the yielded no gain.
“We believe in our guys up front,” Garrett added during the radio interview. “We believe in our runner. Unfortunately on the play before, we actually lost yards on a similar play, so we decided to play the field position.”
After Chris Jones’ punt from Houston’s 42-yard line punt pinned the Texans to their 10-yard line, Watson took his team 72 yards down the field. Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 36-yard field goal gave Houston the 19-16 victory and rendered both teams 2-3.
“Not second-guessing,” Jones said after the game, according to NBC Sports. “But we were being outplayed. It’s time for risk at that particular time.”
Elliott entered the night leading the league in rushing yards, averaging an insane 5.84 yards per carry.
“I really don’t remember the field position we were in, but obviously, you would like a chance to go for it on fourth-and-1, but I don’t know if that was the best decision right there,” Elliott told reporters, according to ESPN.
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The All-Pro back rushed 20 times for 54 yards, the third-lowest rushing total of his career. He was seen limping at one point in the fourth quarter and missed a handful of plays before returning to the field. But Garrett indicated to 105.3 The Fan that Ezekiel wasn’t slowed by injury.
“No, not at all,” Garrett said, according to Machota. “Obviously he like every running back in this league gets banged up week after week. He had a good week of practice. He played well. He played hard. Zeke is a damn good football player.”
Prescott completed 18 of 29 passes for just 208 yards, throwing one touchdown to two interceptions, though each pick bounced off a receiver.
“Oh I think Dak is really playing very, very well,” Garrett added. “I think if you watch the game last night he did so many things to give us opportunities in the game.”