Fans question Mike McCarthy's decision in Cowboys' 17-26 loss to Eagles
October 17, 2022
During the second quarter of the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Cooper Rush made a pass to Cedarian DeLeon “CeeDee” Lamb for a first down. However, the officials placed it short of the first down instead.
The replay showed Lamb extended his arm far enough to get the first down, but the referees decided to spot the ball just short of the line. Interestingly, the Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy did not attempt to challenge for the spot and quickly lined up for fourth and inches from their 34-yard line.
McCarthy’s decision drew some questions from fans as well as experts. NBC's Terry McAulay told Mike Tirico that Lamb had made the first down and the Cowboys should have challenged the spot. Tirico and fellow NBC broadcaster Cris Collinsworth agreed with McAulay.
"There is no question, Mike," McAulay said. "That was absolutely a first down. The ball clearly broke the plane when the elbow was down."
After the incident, the fourth-down attempt failed, setting the Eagles inside the Cowboys’ 35-yard line. This resulted in Philadelphia making a field goal and earning a 17-0 lead. Fans were quick to blame McCarthy’s decision on Twitter.
“Lots of talk about why Mike McCarthy didn't challenge that third down reception by CeeDee Lamb. Cowboys hurried up to get a play off and it didn't work. So much went wrong on that sequence,” one fan tweeted.
As for Lamb, he said that Rush had performed well and that the team was expecting Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to come back.
“Cooper [Rush] did everything and exceeded all expectations, don’t get me wrong,” Lamb told Yahoo Sports, speaking in clear past tense. “But obviously 4 [Dak Prescott], when he comes back, we understand the situation.
“It’s always positive for us, understanding we’re going to get QB1 back.”
Eagles vs Cowboys
The Eagles tallied 173 total yards and 12 first downs, while the Cowboys had four first downs with 81 total yards.
Philadelphia brought Boston Scott, who hadn’t played since Week 3. He performed the first carry. They started at their own 29-yard line and Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson made two interceptions while cornerback Darius Slay made one. The Eagles had a 20-0 lead in the first half.
The Cowboys made a long kickoff return at the end of the first half for three points. Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson was ruled out of the game with a concussion and the Cowboys made a three-point game early in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles then countered with a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, extending their lead back to two possessions. Gardner-Johnson made a diving pick in an effort for the team to reclaim control of the game.
In the fourth quarter, they converted three third downs, and Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jalen Hurts, allowing the Eagles to win by 26-17.
The loss dropped the Cowboys to 4-2 whereas the Eagles advanced to 6-0. Philadelphia is set to play host against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8 after their bye while Dallas will be up against the Detroit Lions next Sunday.