Dallas Cowboys fans are starting to lose patience with head coach Jason Garrett and his by-the-book approach.
That frustration came to a head late Sunday night when the Cowboys faced a fourth-and-1 at the Houston 42 in overtime. Garrett made the call to punt and Dallas never got the ball back.
Instead, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson hit wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for a 49-yard gain into Cowboys territory that eventually led to kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 36-yard game-winning field goal.
So Garrett spent a chunk of his Monday follow-up press conference answering questions about the decision to punt instead of going with the team’s supposed strength — a quality offensive line and power running game.
“It just made sense to us, to me at that time to go ahead and play field position,” Garrett said. “Give Chris Jones a chance to trap them on the 10-yard line and go play defense. Physically, over the course of the game, we were really wearing them out. Our defensive line was getting to their running back, getting to the quarterback.”
That seemed logical at the time. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was held to 51 yards on 17 carries in regulation. He was stuffed on third-and-1 and Garrett pointed out that Dallas needed closer to two yards on the fourth down when they decided to punt.
After the Texans marched into Dallas’s for a game-winning field goal, the idea that the Cowboys didn’t think they could get two yards with a chance to keep driving for the win seems kind of weak.
So Dallas has now lost all three of its road games this season and has scored a total of three touchdowns in the process. The Cowboys’ offensive line is missing center Travis Frederick, who went on injured reserve last week as he continues to undergo treatment for Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Garrett acknowledged that Dallas’s offensive front has struggled in the losses.
“Part of it has been the communication part,” Garrett said. “I think we’ve played our three worst games on the offensive line on the road. That’s just something we have to get better at. You play road games, crowd noise is a part of it.”