Jason Garrett’s list of end of half game management gaffes continues to grow

About a month ago, we listed seven game management gaffes at the end of the half by Princeton alum Jason Garrett, who at the time, was 31 games into his NFL coaching career.  Let’s throw another one on the pile.

At the end of the first half last night, Tony Romo hit a wide open Jason Witten down the seam for a 28 yard gain to the 1 yard line.  He was tackled with about 54 seconds left on the clock.  Dallas had all 3 of their time outs remaining.  It appeared that the Cowboys didn’t want to rush down the field and get the next play off in haste.  That’s fine.  Take a timeout, and call a play you like.

However, the timing of the called time out, from a strategic perspective, is pretty simple.  You let the clock run down to about 20 seconds, or if you want to leave yourself a little extra time in case of a pass interference call in the end zone (and thus a new set of downs), maybe you leave 25 or 30 seconds.  With two time outs still in your back pocket, your entire goal line playbook is open, and time expiring is not a concern.

What did Garrett do?  He called time out with 45 seconds left on the clock.  Next play… Touchdown.

That left the Eagles 41 seconds before the end of the half.  Five plays later, the Eagles had driven down inside the Dallas 30 yard line, and Alex Henery drilled a FG to close the half.

Andy Reid has long been criticized for his time management skills, which is warranted.  Jason Garrett is worse.


  1. ameero2 says:

    I hate most of his “end of half” decisions, but I can’t find fault in this one. This decision allows him to run the ball three times and still have about 20-25 seconds to rush the field goal team on the field if he wanted to. Any other decision would have cut his playbook in half and forced him to throw on third down (if it got there). Anyways like I said he still needs a lot of work on his decision making process but if we’ve learned anything from the cowboys this year is that nothing comes easy to them, so he shouldn’t be at fault for playing it safe.

    1. That’s not true though. It would not have cut his playbook in half. He still had 2 time outs. If he wanted to run the ball, he could have run the ball.

      1. ameero2 says:

        true on first and second down. but if he had left 25-30 like you suggested he would have been forced to throw on third down. Thus cutting his playbook in half.

        1. Jimmy Kempski says:

          Having to throw on 1 of 3 downs (if necessary) seems line a no-brainer trade-off to me to all but ensure you don’t give the other team a chance to score the other way (which they did).

        2. poolboy87 says:

          If you had been unable to gain the one yard needed for a TD on the first two attempts…why in the name of god would you try it a third time, in lieu of a pass attempt? Even still, with 25-30 seconds left, there would have been 15-20 left, at least, after you ran it the third time. Plenty of time for a chip shot field goal.

          So yeah, there was no reason to call a T.O. with 45 seconds. It’s not the worst thing on the list of blunders, because you’d like to think that your defense can hold somebody from making a 50-60 yard drive in 30 seconds, but still.

          I hope to god that Norv Turner’s butt gets canned, and Garrett hires him as a play-caller. He clearly doesn’t need to be doing it all.

          1. poolboy87 says:

            That’s also forgetting the idea that he could call in the run on a hurry up instead of using his second time out after the first run with 25 seconds left on the clock.

            Either way, it was poor clock management.

            1. ameero2 says:

              forgive me for not explaining better I didn’t mean that they would have to run on third down, I meant that it would eliminate the heavy set playaction pass that a lot of teams score on in the redzone, because Philly would not respect the run enough to bite on playaction.

              1. poolboy87 says:

                That’s assuming that they didn’t attempt a pass on second down. If they had, and it had failed, then they’d still have a time-out in their pocket.

                Sorry, just don’t think there’s a lot of an excuse here. The only way the clock is running after 3rd down is if they run three straight times and can’t pick up a yard. In that situation, it there would’ve been bigger problems then play-calling.

                He could’ve had the whole playbook available even if he had let the clock run-down.

                It didn’t really matter in the end and, like I said, it’s not high up on his list of screw ups…but it’s just a small sample of a much bigger issue.

  2. Todd B says:

    Rookie QB.
    No McCoy. Rookie RB.
    4 out of 5 back up OL.
    No DJax.
    Maybe he thought it wasn’t too much to ask his “awesome” DC to hold for 41 sec?

    1. Bob says:

      No Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Jay Ratliff, Kenyon Coleman, Barry Church, Orlando Scandrick, never mind all the backups who are supposed to be playing for those guys who are also hurt.

  3. David_Does_Dallas says:

    It’s simple. He didn’t trust his team to get in the end zone on the first or second run. He wanted time to complete three plays, including probably two runs. I don’t think many people were upset with his logic.

    1. But he still had two timeouts in his pocket. If he wanted to call a run play, they still could have, and then called time out if they didn’t get in.

      1. Hector says:

        What if Romo got sacked behind that line?

  4. Maybe he lost all of his Princeton level education from suffering concussions and now his education is only the equivalent of a Princeton safety school

  5. Juz Saying says:

    But Jason beat Andy twice this year!

  6. horatius says:

    Jason Garrett is from Princeton.

    Doesn’t surprise me. Have seen more dumbasses from ivy league schools than other top tier schools. Damn legacy students.

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