Phillips Takes Blame For Fumble
September 13, 2010. Head coach Wade Phillips
accepts fault for the turning point in the
Dallas Cowboys' season-opening loss Sunday
night to the Washington Redskins because he
failed to assert his authority on the final
play of the first half.
The result of
the play -- a called Hail Mary that turned
into a short throw to running back Tashard
Choice -- was a 32-yard fumble return for a
touchdown by cornerback DeAngelo Hall that
gave the Redskins a 10-0 halftime lead.
"We needed to
kneel on the football in that situation,"
Phillips said Monday afternoon after
reviewing the film of the 13-7 loss and
meeting with the team. "That way, we don't
get in that situation. That's game strategy,
and that goes to the head coach.
"That put us
behind the 8-ball. Sure, we shouldn't have
dinked it off to a back with no time left,
and he should have held onto the ball. But
those things don't come into factor at all
if we do the right thing."
Phillips said a
holding penalty against right tackle Alex
Barron on the previous play created
confusion on the Cowboys' sideline. The
Redskins originally indicated that they
intended to decline the penalty before
deciding to accept it.
coach/offensive coordinator Jason Garrett
had called for a Hail Mary when the Cowboys
thought the ball would be placed at their
46-yard line. The play call wasn't changed
after the 10-yard penalty was marked off,
with Phillips taking the blame for the lack
decision. That's plain and simple," said
Phillips, who is also the Cowboys' defensive
coordinator. "We didn't get it accomplished.
That was my fault."
he was on the phone at the time with
defensive assistants in the press box and
didn't realize the Redskins accepted the
penalty until it was too late to order
Garrett to call for Romo to take a knee.
you take the knee there and get out of
Dodge," Garrett told ESPNDallas.com after
the game. "But it's certainly a pivotal play
in the game."
"No good things can happen. The percentages
of what happened certainly are low, but it's
even lower that you're going to score a
touchdown from your own 36-yard line."
The Hail Mary
was doomed from the start, as the Redskins
got pressure and forced Romo to scramble up
in the pocket. Romo freelanced and flipped
the ball to Choice in the right flat.
contact with Choice right after the catch
and immediately tried to rip the ball away,
succeeding after teammates Andre Carter and
Lorenzo Alexander also hit Choice, who was
fighting for extra yardage as time expired.
Hall scooped up
the loose ball and sprinted 32 yards
untouched for the touchdown, somersaulting
into the end zone. The Cowboys never erased
the deficit, with the loss ending when a
touchdown pass to Roy Williams was negated
by Barron's third holding penalty of the
right there was to go and try to score,"
Choice said. "I could have laid down, I
could have gone out of bounds, but that
ain't me. That's just not my style. That's
not the type of player I am. I try to make
something happen. And I shouldn't have. I
have got to be smarter."
needed to be smarter all the way up the
chain of command.
it clear Monday -- during his news
conference and the team meeting -- that the
he's at the top of that chain of command
during games despite the Cowboys'
unconventional situation with the coaching
staff. Owner/general manager Jerry Jones
hired Garrett as the offensive coordinator
before choosing Phillips as the head coach.
generally gets autonomy with the offensive
playcalling, but Phillips has veto power and
should have exercised it at the end of the
first half Sunday night.
"I need to
interject more," Phillips said. "I didn't do
it. That's the problem."