The most pertinent question lobbed to Jones centered around the game’s controversial ending, with Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy unable to challenge an apparent fumble by Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds. The fumble occurred at the 2:42 mark of the fourth quarter; the Cowboys were trailing 25-22, desperate to get the ball back.
But because McCarthy had already exhausted all three timeouts, he could not throw his red challenge flag. Arizona maintained possession, bled the clock, and secured victory at AT&T Stadium.
“Well, they didn’t rule it a fumble,” Jones noted to reporters in his postgame address, via 105.3 The Fan. “That’s why you save a timeout if you can. But of course we were trying to keep something left on that clock to get it done. But that’s the risk you take. I wish we had had it left to use, could have made a big difference, obviously.”
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Jerry Rues Penalty Issue vs. Arizona
The Cowboys continually shot themselves in the foot amid the tightly-contested affair, racking up 10 penalties for 88 yards. Conversely, referee Scott Novak’s crew called seven infractions for 45 yards on the Cardinals, who controlled time of possession, 34:42-25:18.
After the game, more than a few Cowboys players complained of “playing against” the zebras — defensive end Randy Gregory called it an “every-week occurrence” — and Jones did not disagree considering the officials’ history.
“Expected those penalties,” he said, via 105.3 The Fan. “Just to show you what I read right before we kick off, what I read was ‘major concern: this group calls a lot of ticky-tack, they call a lot of penalties, and that’s gonna be a concern for us today.’ And of course some of those plays it would’ve made us not look like, physically, we were struggling. Some of those would’ve looked a lot better if we could have kept some of those we got called back. That probably has a big impact on how this thing looked, but it was a tough physical game.
“Their defense was very physical. We saw it throughout the game. And I was proud of the way we came back at the end, and we had everything out there that we want to play for. But we didn’t take a big step back here at all, as far as this team getting ready for the playoffs. And I’m not just looking for something good. This is the kind of expectation that you’d be ready for.”
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Injury Update on Gallup
Jones confirmed the Cowboys’ worst fears regarding wide receiver Michael Gallup, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on a speculator first-half touchdown grab, his first of 2021.
“He’s out for the year. (Is it an ACL?) Yes. That’s absent an MRI. But that’s just the initial diagnosis,” Jones told reporters, via 105.3 The Fan.
Gallup — an unrestricted free agent in March — finishes his fourth NFL campaign with 32 catches for 409 yards and the TD across nine appearances. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Cedrick Wilson, who tallied 35 yards and one score while tying for a team-high six receptions versus Arizona.