ARLINGTON, Texas — DeMarcus Lawrence described the Cowboys’ postgame locker room as “sickening.”
“We’re at home, we’re going by two teams,” he mentioned. “Expectantly the NFL can sit down down with their group, review the movie, be taught from their mistakes and web better from it.”
After Dallas’ 25-22 loss to Arizona dropped them from the NFC’s No. 2 seed to fourth, Cowboys gamers did not salvage lend a hand. They railed in opposition to an officiating crew that flagged them for 10 penalties and a collective 88 yards, while the Cardinals were docked 45 yards off seven. The referees’ most infuriating option, within the eyes of Cowboys defenders, arrived within the final 3 minutes of the sport: on a fumble that wasn’t.
Even head coach Mike McCarthy mentioned officiating in his postgame locker room take care of.
“We’ve obtained to salvage struggling with with every person,” linebacker Leighton Vander Esch mentioned of the coach’s message. “And never accurate the diversified group, while you steal my waft.”
As the sport neared its discontinue, Cowboys defenders notion they had at final positioned offensive teammates to ship the punishing ranking.
The scenario diverged from the 22-7 deficit Dallas carried after three quarters, the offense easiest settling accurate into a rhythm in period four. It became then that Dak Prescott chanced on receiver Cedrick Wilson for a 2-yard touchdown and Amari Cooper for a 4-yard ranking. Wilson finished a 2-point conversion play and the Cowboys’ momentum became virtually strong sufficient to overshadow Prescott’s lost fumble sandwiched between the 2 touchdown drives.
With 4: 42 to play and their lead narrowed to a few, the Cardinals took the sphere. They began marching, quarterback Kyler Murray scrambling for 15 and discovering tight discontinue Zach Ertz for 11 on either facet of runs from Poke Edmonds. The Cardinals began bleeding clock. The Cowboys light their final two timeouts to discontinue the clock. Now, 2: 51 remained.
Murray pitched left to Edmonds, with Lawrence and Randy Gregory in pursuit. Lawrence punched free the ball, Cowboys defensive take care of Osa Odighizuwa grabbing it as Edmonds tumbled out of bounds. An reliable stood roughly 5 yards upfield. No whistle became blown. And with 2: 45 to play, inquiring for a jabber necessitated a timeout. The Cowboys had none.
“It became fully a fumble,” Vander Esch mentioned. “And I accurate don’t designate how with the technology now we accumulate on this day and age, even supposing we don’t accumulate timeouts on this day and age, to name a jabber and jabber it. It’s so glaring. Decided things are so glaring that refs are messing up.”
Cowboys gamers were surprisingly vocal about what they deemed overeager and at times imprecise officiating.
“For individuals who peek all around the league, this isn’t accurate the main time it took save,” Vander Esch persisted. “It’s like there are games all around the league that were dictated from accurate, I don’t know if it’s incompetence or what it’s a ways, nevertheless don’t ranking sense to me. It’s not not easy to repair that. Particularly, if like I mentioned, it’s so blatant on the sphere and so glaring, why is any individual on the tip not radioing down like, ‘let’s web this upright’? ‘Location off that’s not not easy. That’s accurate the ethics of the sport, getting it upright. ‘Good day, you made a mistake right here, fix it. Right here’s the upright name.’
“To me, we’re taking part in more in opposition to the refs than we’re the diversified group.”
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The Cowboys offense drew penalties, too. Four of 5 Dallas offensive linemen drew penalties on third downs in a contest the save Dallas converted accurate three of 11 makes an try.
Receiver CeeDee Lamb mentioned that laundry sequence disrupted the offense’s ability to safe rhythm.
“Every mountainous play became called lend a hand attributable to a few fashion of name,” Lamb mentioned. “The refs, I feel like, dictated that sport. It’s no secret.
Prescott mentioned he wouldn’t “gripe” about rule enforcement and he would “play in opposition to the eleven (defenders) and the others if now we deserve to.” As a Cowboys chief, would Prescott recommend his teammates focus more on themselves and not more on officiating after emotions died down? He would not, he mentioned.
“They can divulge their feeling about their frustrations,” Prescott mentioned. “It is miles what it’s a ways. I judge we’ve obtained obtained to create a bigger job of attempting to salvage them out of it, nevertheless I’ve grow to pay attention to it. I designate carrying the (Cowboys) big title and what it technique. Usually things don’t lope your manner.
“We’re going to play the hand that we’re dealt and strive to beat things.”
Where Cowboys must enhance for playoffs
Officiating or not, the Cowboys understood sure areas the save they must enhance within the event that they must ranking a speed within the playoffs. Sure, at 11-5, Dallas has clinched the NFC East title and thus as a minimum one home postseason contest. However the working sport that powered early-season wins managed accurate 45 yards and a pair of.6 yards per raise all over Sunday’s loss. A passing attack that has struggled to manufacture consistently since October again featured drops and overthrows, as properly as six deflections. Prescott not without lengthen finished 24 of 38 makes an try for 226 yards and three touchdowns.
“We accurate need better conversation, better conversation between every person,” mentioned Cooper, who caught three of seven targets for 18 yards and a touchdown. “Gamers, receivers, quarterbacks, working backs, coaches. Greater conversation talking about the things we like and the things we don’t like so we are able to accurate exit there and play fast.”
Did the Cardinals contrivance muddy Prescott’s vision? Cardinals All-Skilled security Budda Baker mentioned Arizona practiced confusing after determining Prescott became too extremely efficient when he mastered his reads. Prescott mentioned he believes teams accumulate consistently disguised coverages more this three hundred and sixty five days in opposition to him than in opposition to diversified quarterbacks.
“So it’s accurate main for me to search around for my movie peek and behold the post-snap,” Prescott mentioned. “I judge I did a staunch job of it. They did an reliable job of disguising, attempting to display conceal blitzes after which obtained available within the market, brought just a few them. They did an reliable job of getting their hands on some DB pressures, batting the ball down and things like that.
“Credit to those guys for what they did, nevertheless we’ll behold them again.”
On defense, Murray’s escapability neutralized some of what had been a potent Cowboys pass speed in December. Without the the same aptitude for collapsing the pocket, Dallas struggled to web Arizona off the sphere on third downs. Regardless of that the Cowboys entered the sport allowing a league-easiest 31.22% success charge on third downs. The Cardinals converted seven of 13 makes an try (53.8%) by three quarters earlier than Dallas stopped every of Arizona’s three fourth-quarter makes an try. Indifferent, the ensuing 43.8% third-down defense would accumulate ranked worse than 28 defenses all around the season.
Constructing offensive rhythm earlier and generating third-down stops on the next clip will be emphases for the Cowboys subsequent week in Philadelphia and the next week within the wild-card spherical. So, too, will be recapturing the complementary soccer that buoyed them by December. Shedding to the No. 4 seed after Sunday’s loss, the Cowboys might perchance now host the Cardinals as quickly as in two weeks. Gamers mentioned they’d welcome a possibility to use up the save fourth-quarter momentum left off, believing they had chanced on clarity on what would work. Gamers reiterated the NFL aphorism that beating a bunch twice in shut succession is complex. And defenders mentioned seeing Murray’s threat would abet movie peek.
First, Dallas will budge to Philadelphia for a sport that became flexed to Saturday night at 8: 15 p.m. ET. Then: lend a hand home.
“If we inaugurate up this match in opposition to (Arizona), we’re furious,” Prescott mentioned. “Positively disappointing we didn’t come away with the steal. But rattling definite not dark.”
Observe USA TODAY Sports activities’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.
This article firstly seemed on USA TODAY: Dallas Cowboys gamers rip officiating ‘incompetence’ in loss to Cards