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Mike McCarthy Says Cowboys’ Fake Punt vs. WFT Was ‘A Solid Play Call’

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Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy walks on the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

After the Dallas Cowboys lost to Washington 41-16 on Thanksgiving, Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy defended the Cowboys’ decision to call a fake punt from their own 24-yard line with over 12 minutes left to play.

“You won’t get anywhere if you’re thinking about negatives all the time,” he said after the game, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. “Obviously, it was a solid play call. It’s a good play design.” 

NFL on ESPN @ESPNNFL

The Cowboys’ fake punt was SHUT DOWN 🔒

(via @NFLBrasil)
https://t.co/Bcsisuxegt

The Cowboys entered the final frame of Thursday’s game with a four-point deficit, but the fake punt call started a 21-point fourth quarter for Washington to bury the hosts.

On 4th-and-10 with 12:23 remaining, Dallas gave the ball to wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. on a reverse. Wilson had appeared on no more than 21 percent of offensive snaps and 17 percent of special teams snaps entering Thursday. Wilson was taken down on the carry, setting up a Washington drive from the Cowboys’ 23-yard line. 

On the opening snap, rookie running back Antonio Gibson breezed to the end zone for his second of three touchdowns on the night, putting Washington up 27-16. 

Gibson, who also scored the game’s first touchdown to give Washington a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, capitalized again as the clock wound down. He put the game away with a 37-yard run with 3:31 on the clock before Montez Sweat returned an interception to the end zone to finalize the defeat.

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