Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy wasted a potential scoring opportunity right before halftime against the Eagles on “Monday Night Football” with horrible clock management.
Dallas’ defense came up with a stop close to midfield with roughly a minute left in the half. McCarthy could have used one of his team’s two remaining timeouts to attempt to get the ball back and move it into field goal range to take a 23-7 lead into the locker room.
For whatever reason, McCarthy elected not to take a timeout, letting the clock wind down all the way to 20 seconds before Philadelphia took a timeout prior to punting. Because so little time remained in the half, Dallas elected to kneel and head into the locker room with a 20-7 lead.
Peyton Manning, calling the game on ESPN2 as part of the network’s ManningCast, could only cry out in frustration, “Call timeout, Mike!”
It’s possible the down, distance and location of the ball on the field — fourth-and-5 from the Dallas 49 — was enough to give McCarthy pause about whether to call timeout. After all, it was possible the Eagles could have attempted to convert, and a timeout would have given them more time to score. Indeed, an official appeared to ask McCarthy whether he wanted to call timeout. He refused:
Either way, he had terrible timing on the decision — pun intended — a week after similar clock mismanagement against the Chargers.
McCarthy blamed a clock malfunction at SoFi Stadium for kicker Greg Zuerlein having to kick a last-second 56-yard field goal against Los Angeles, after letting 24 seconds tick off the clock late in the fourth quarter.
“One of our players came off who shouldn’t have come off, just communication there. Then we were just going to run it down, but the clock I was watching went off the board,” McCarthy explained in his postgame news conference. “And the clock [offensive coordinator] Kellen [Moore] had, he said he got blocked by a camera guy. So the communication was great from up top; obviously, you want to call that timeout between three and four seconds.”
Twitter was quick to point out McCarthy’s deficiency in clock management, too:
Mike McCarthy could called timeout…
at 1:50 before 3rd & 24 or
at 1:02 before 4th & 5
instead he takes his 2 timeouts to the locker room and kneels on the ball pic.twitter.com/sJnUlfpYVk
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 28, 2021
Nice clock management there by Mike McCarthy again. 🙄
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) September 28, 2021
Definitely strange to see Mike McCarthy not want more time for one last possession before halftime.
And by strange I mean wrong and what are yall doin
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) September 28, 2021
Mike McCarthy apparently cannot find the clock at AT&T Stadium either. Or he simply, with two timeouts, cares not to stop it. Eagles get the ball to begin second half.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 28, 2021
“I just talked to Mike McCarthy yesterday. He’s probably not going to call me anymore because I criticized his clock management.” The moment Peyton Manning truly became a member of the media
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) September 28, 2021