Why, Mike?? WHY??! That was the sentiment of bettors and Dallas Cowboys fans alike on the 2020 season’s first, Sunday Night Football. The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams lined up on Sunday night for the first battle in the Rams new home stadium, SoFi. The game didn’t disappoint from a competitive perspective, but late in the fourth quarter, a coaching blunder disappointed many.

For three quarters, Cowboys moneyline bettors felt pretty good about their game pick, and then all at once, the writing appeared on the wall. As a bettor, you knew at that moment early in the fourth quarter, that was it, you were going to lose the bet and it was going to be brutal. So, how in the world did this go down? Let me explain.

Horns and Hats Locked

The Rams and Cowboys battled for three quarters. For three quarters it seemed that neither team had the advantage. At times, it even seemed like the Cowboys were going to find a way…and then it happened. Mike McCarthy. Mike McCarthy happened.

With just over 13 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Dallas rolled into the red zone with a head of steam. It seemed that at least a tie was inevitable. 1st and 10. Tony Pollard grabs a 4 yard carry, followed by an incomplete pass. Ezekiel Elliot then rushed for 3 yards. So here it comes, the play of the game. 4th and 3 from inside the 20, down by 3. The decision should be obvious, right?

Wrong. The field goal unit stayed on the sidelines. Dak Prescott dropped back, and pulled the trigger to rookie wideout, CeeDee Lamb. If Prescott throws the same pass to the same route run by Amari Cooper or Michael Gallup, it likely results in a first down. However on this play, Lamb’s inexperience caused him to come up a yard short of the first down resulting in a turnover on downs.

Rookie Mistake

Lamb has to extend that route past the sticks. That’s all there is to it. If he fades past the sticks as he runs the drag, we are having a different conversation right now. Lamb went on to say after the game, “It wasn’t a rookie mistake, but it was a mistake made by a rookie.” You have to give CeeDee a lot of respect for owning up to his mistake, especially when, in my opinion, he shouldn’t have been on the field for 4th down.

Dallas Cowboys CeeDee Lamb

Do you know who should’ve been on the field?? Of course you do, the damn field goal unit. Come on man! Greg Zuerlein against his former team. Greg the leg. One of the greatest kickers in the history of the game. Why else would you go out and get Zuerlein if you didn’t plan to use him in clutch situations like this one?

Head coach Mike McCarthy later said that analytics played into the decision to go for it, but I’m going to need more info than that Mike. Exactly what analytics? Tell me that you didn’t just look at field goal vs going for it on fourth down, because that isn’t enough. Did you figure in the amount of time on the clock? The score? Field position? The defense?

Analytical Decision by the Dallas Cowboys

There are so many factors that should’ve played into that decision, and I was left feeling like none of them were factored in. Not to mention my wallet was much lighter. Who knows how the rest of the game would’ve played out if the Cowboys tied it right there. 

As McCarthy and Lamb both came away saying, you live, you learn. What have we learned ladies and gentlemen? The Cowboys are once again going to be a Sunday blunder for your wallet, I’m staying away from them.