Dak Prescott hands it over to all the bad people


Dak Prescott kept handing it to all the wrong people.

He should have delivered the ball to referee Ramon George rather than his center Tyler Biadasz before the end of the Dallas season, leaving Cowboys fans ruminating on the quarterback’s draw which was called without a timeout and just 14 seconds from the end.

As Prescott and Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy was busy blaming officiating for the sloppy finish that sealed the Cowboys’ 23-17 playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Prescott praised the fans for throwing rubbish at the officials as they left the field.

At first, Prescott eloquently condemned the fans’ rude behavior, but it soon became clear that he misunderstood the question and thought the fans were throwing trash at his discouraged teammates.

“No, I haven’t seen that. It’s sad,” Prescott said. “…You’re talking about men who go out every day of their lives and give their all to this sport, give their all to this game of football. … And for people to react that way when you’re supposed to be a supporter and be with us through thick and thin, that’s tough.

Informed that it was the officials the fans were bombarding with beer mugs and nacho cheese sauce, Prescott rolled a 180 and retorted, “Thanks to them, then.”

With those haunting words, Prescott delivered the epitaph to the ugly end to Dallas’ otherwise stellar season, and Jerry Jones had to lament a 26th straight season without even a trip to the conference championship let alone another appearance at the Super Bowl.

The NFL, by the way, said the officials were right.

Referee Alex Kemp said the referee did his job properly as the final seconds ticked away. He said George followed the game the right length so he could see any possible infractions during play and he said George spotted the ball correctly after it hit Prescott and Biadasz causing a brief delay before the hike and the peak that came a tick after the clock hit all zeros.

Prior to that, Prescott was brilliant moving the Cowboys down quickly.

Dallas got the ball at 20 with 32 seconds and no timeouts remaining. Prescott made three straight passes, receivers going out of bounds each time, and had 14 seconds left when he ran 17 yards to the 49ers 24, then put the ball back to his center and lined up for the spike so that he can get one. shot on a winning touchdown throw.

You’d think a $40 million-a-year quarterback would know what all NFL fans do: the umpire has to spot the ball before it can be busted again.

McCarthy defended the quarterback draft as the right choice in this situation, even if he was risking the very outcome that happened. The 49ers had three linemen and were defending the sideline, so the midfield was wide open.

“It’s the right decision,” McCarthy said. “We shouldn’t have a problem getting the ball down.”

ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday, who played center in the NFL for 14 seasons, said Prescott blundered by not slipping sooner and trying to get the ball to the umpire.

“Dak has to understand that you really want to go down to 10 seconds. So he ran a second or two too long,” said Saturday. “The other most important part: keep the ball in your hand. You’re going to hand the ball to the umpire, so nothing else makes any difference because when you give it to him, the offensive line will look back, understanding that he’s going to pass to spot the ball and you can steal it.

“There was enough time when he fell, if he has the ball in his hand, don’t give it to the center,” said Saturday. “And here’s the biggest thing: Usually when you run those 2-minute situations, it’s between a receiver, a tight end, or a running back and they’re literally taught to go run the ball to the official. Don’t don’t throw it because they might drop it Give it on the way to the hash the ball is going to be spotted.

Prescott stood sharp.

“All he has to do is hand the ball to the referee who will run to him to collect it, secure it and put it down,” said Saturday.

There were 5 seconds left when the referee came to the line of scrimmage and had to fight his way past Prescott and Biadasz to get to the ball the center had placed on the turf.

These sorts of things are practiced on a weekly basis.

“The referee has to clear his way because the ball can’t be placed until he touches it,” said Saturday. “The center can’t place him. The quarterback can’t place him. So it’s extremely frustrating for all Cowboys fans, but the reality is that when you practice this week, you either have referees in the field, or an equipment manager who will pick it up and locate it.

Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, the architect of the NFL’s most scoring offense, now has a clear schedule to schedule all those head coaching interviews. He will surely be asked about this latest game when he talks to the Broncos, Jaguars, Dolphins and Vikings about their vacancies.

The Cowboys can book their trips to Cancun now while mourning the wild ending that will live on in 49ers-Cowboys playoff lore like Dwight Clark’s “The Catch” and Roger Staubach’s frenetic fourth-quarter rally that earned him the nickname “Captain Comeback”.

“Dawdling Dak” could come to define this episode, the one which drew immediate derision on social networks and which Peyton Manning even alluded to on Monday night during the Rams-Cardinals generic card game.

When Rams defenders didn’t immediately touch a Cardinals receiver after a diving catch, Eli Manning suggested they waited for the receiver to appear so they tried to hit the ball for an “easy change.”

“I’m old school,” Peyton Manning replied. “Just touch the guy, right?” Just give the ball to the referee in a 2 minute drill, right? Let’s just do some of the basics the right way.


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