SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Two extra interceptions from Dak Prescott. One other missed additional level by Brett Maher. Some weird play-calling on the finish of the sport.
All of it added as much as one other playoff exit for the Dallas Cowboys and extra questions on what must be finished to get them over the hump.
Prescott had two turnovers and led just one landing drive and the Cowboys fell in need of the NFC title recreation for the twelfth straight postseason journey, shedding 19-12 to the San Francisco 49ers within the divisional spherical on Sunday.
“I felt we had been in state of affairs to return in right here and win this factor,” proprietor Jerry Jones mentioned. “Frankly, I wouldn’t say stunned, I might say simply actual disenchanted that we perhaps couldn’t make one thing occur.”
A franchise that gained three Tremendous Bowl titles in a four-year span early in Jones’ tenure is now identified principally for playoff flops.
And now there might be hypothesis concerning the job safety of coach Mike McCarthy, who has gained one playoff recreation in three seasons — final week over Tampa Bay.
Jones mentioned the loss did not change his opinion on McCarthy, however he was clearly pissed off by one other early ending.
“That is very sickening,” he mentioned.
The Cowboys (13-6) have not made it even so far as the convention championship recreation since successful the Tremendous Bowl following the 1995 season, shedding seven instances within the divisional spherical and 5 instances within the wild-card spherical. Solely 5 different groups have not gotten to a convention title recreation since then.
That they had their probabilities to get that far Sunday due to a powerful defensive efficiency however bought knocked out by the rival 49ers for the second straight season.
“Simply disappointment,” Prescott mentioned. “Protection gave us a possibility to win this recreation. They performed arduous towards a extremely, actually good offense, a extremely good crew. For us to solely put up the factors that we did, that’s unacceptable. It begins with me. I’ve bought to be higher. There’s no different approach to sugarcoat it.”
An early interception by Prescott arrange a discipline objective by San Francisco.
The Cowboys then put collectively their solely TD drive of the sport with Prescott connecting with Dalton Schultz on a 4-yard rating. However Maher had his extra-point attempt blocked after lacking a file 4 final week in a win at Tampa Bay.
Prescott then threw one other interception — his thirteenth within the final 9 video games — to show a possible scoring drive on the finish of the half right into a discipline objective that gave San Francisco a 9-6 lead on the break.
“I can’t put the ball in jeopardy like that, whether or not they’re tipped up in tight throws or whether or not I’m late on a cease route,” Prescott mentioned. “Simply can’t occur. The quantity that it’s gotten to is ridiculous. I can promise that the quantity won’t ever be this once more. I can promise that.”
The Cowboys then did not capitalize on two massive particular groups performs, settling for discipline objectives following a fumbled punt by Ray-Ray McCloud and a protracted kickoff return by KaVontae Turpin.
That left them in a determined state of affairs late once they took over at their very own 18 with 2:59 remaining, trailing 19-12.
Prescott threw two straight incompletions and was sacked on third down. McCarthy opted to punt on fourth-and-10 with all three timeouts left.
The Cowboys bought the ball again at their 6 with 45 seconds left however might solely transfer the ball to the 24 earlier than an odd closing play that began with working again Ezekiel Elliott snapping the ball to Prescott and ended instantly earlier than the deliberate laterals when Jimmie Ward tackled Turpin after a brief cross.
A becoming finish to a different unfulfilling season.
“Factually, we’ve taken one step nearer to our objective,” McCarthy mentioned. “That’s what the comparable could be from final yr to this yr.”
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