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Mike McCarthy fake punt fails spectacularly for Cowboys, leads to Washington TD

Mike McCarthy, Cowboys, Washington

Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys, consulting with special teams coach John Fassel, greenlit a fake punt in the fourth quarter of a close game against the Washington Football Team.

The actual fact that a fake punt was called was not the biggest problem; the Cowboys lost All-Pro right tackle Zack Martin earlier in the game. Keeping in mind that left tackle Tyron Smith is already out for the season, the Cowboys lacked their two best linemen and pass blockers. Andy Dalton was a sitting duck against Washington on Thanksgiving Day, just as he was several weeks earlier against the same opponent.

Calling for a 4th-and-10 fake punt when trailing 20-16? Not the worst idea for the Cowboys.

The worst idea was the play design on the Cowboys’ fake punt, relative to the distance needed to gain a first down.

Watch the Cowboys’ disastrous play, with more commentary below:

McCarthy and Fassel had Cedrick Wilson run roughly 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage on 4th and 10. The line of scrimmage was the Dallas 24. Wilson ran back to the Dallas 10 before circling upfield.

The Cowboys asked Wilson to run a very long distance — 10 yards before getting the ball, then 24 yards from the 10-yard line — to get the first down. A pass fake would have been realistic. This was lunacy, and the low point of an awful loss to Washington.

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