Mike McCarthy today performed an absolute masterpiece of bad coaching, on a par with his legendary work when he was Seattle’s MVP in the 2014 NFC Championship game. The league’s most penalized team committed many critical and egregious penalties. The fourth down decision-making was typically awful, and his one good decision was mitigated by trying to force the 49ers to waste a timeout by keeping the punt formation on the field on first down (?) and taking a delay of game penalty instead. (It must be said that Shanahan also had a terrible day on 4th down — after that ridiculous punt it took Dallas 2 plays and less than 30 seconds to get the field posession back — but since he’s also a first-rate gameplanner and 1st-to-3rd-down playcaller you can live with it if you’re a Niners fan. I have no idea what it is that McCarthy is supposed to do well.) Still, all of this is pretty ordinary bad coaching. It’s this kind of touch that makes it special:
The Cowboys had no timeouts, and the ball at San Francisco 41-yard line with 14 seconds remaining. Dak had a shot to set up one, maybe two, throws into the end zone for the win. Instead, they called a draw play which ended with Dak reaching the 24-yard-line, and the clock running out before he could spike the ball. McCarthy said he was told the refs would put time back on the clock, but that didn’t happen. There was never enough time to run a play like that. The margin was so thin no explanation can justify that call.
To review, McCarthy called a massively risky play so that he could, if everything was executed properly, take one shot at the end zone from around the 30 instead of 2 or 3 from the 41. This is absolutely insane. And of course the comically inept execution of the play also hangs on McCarthy:
I love this man. May he coach the Cowboys for life.