Following the Dallas Cowboys’ disappointing 19-12 loss in the Divisional Round to the 49ers, owner Jerry Jones showed his support for coach Mike McCarthy returning next season.
“No. No. No. Not at all,” Jones said when asked if Sunday night’s result would change McCarthy’s job status. “[The coaching staff’s] decision to (play) the kicker was exonerated with his field goal, in my mind. I’m proud for him, but this is very sickening to not win tonight.”
McCarthy is drawing criticism for the Cowboys’ final play of the game, which featured running back Ezekiel Elliott lining up at center and ended with wide receiver KaVontae Turpin getting tackled before he could pitch the ball to a teammate or turn upfield to pick up any yards after the catch.
— NFL (@NFL) January 23, 2023
McCarthy tried to explain away the Cowboys’ perplexing final play after the game but didn’t offer many details.
“It didn’t really get going,” McCarthy said. “I don’t really want to get into the details of it, but that obviously wasn’t the plan. It’s obviously a gadget play or whatever. It’s a last-play situation call that we practice.”
To McCarthy’s credit, he’s finished 12-5 in back-to-back seasons, and this year’s wild-card victory against the Buccaneers was Dallas’ first playoff win since 2018. However, the Cowboys always have sky-high expectations, and their loss to the 49ers makes it 27 straight years since they’ve made it past the divisional round.
McCarthy’s decision-making wasn’t the only reason Dallas lost on Sunday. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott finished with just 206 yards passing, one touchdown and two interceptions, as Dallas’ offense failed to get in the end zone after the first quarter.
“Yeah, just disappointed. Guys that played their asses off,” Prescott said after the game. “The defense, which gave us an opportunity to win this game, which played hard against a really, really good offense, a really good team, and for us to only put up the points that we did, that’s unacceptable, and it starts with me. I’ve got to be better. No way to sugarcoat it.”
Ronde Barber, an analyst for The 33rd Team and former NFL defensive back, isn’t focused on McCarthy’s future with the Cowboys, but instead wonders about Prescott’s future in Dallas.
“We keep hearing about Cincinnati and Joe Burrow saying his winning window is whenever he’s playing,” Barber said. “I don’t think I feel that way about Dallas and Dak Prescott.”
Although there don’t appear to be any immediate changes coming at coach or quarterback, it looks like it will be another Cowboys’ offseason filled with speculation as the team failed to meet expectations yet again.