The Dallas Cowboys played well for the most part against the New York Giants in a 24-17 win on Wednesday night, but penalties still plagued the team. Dallas has been one of the most penalized team in the league over the past three seasons (overall, only the Oakland Raiders were worse since 2009). On Wednesday night, the Cowboys were flagged 15 times (two were declined) for 86 total yards. That simply won’t get it done every week.
Sure, the Cowboys got flagged 13 times and still won, but if anyone, especially in the organization, thinks Dallas can overcome this many penalties each week, they need a reality check. Over the past three seasons, only five teams that were in among the most penalized teams in the league (top half) made the playoffs. Dallas was among the five most penalized teams in each of those seasons. In case you’re wondering, no Super Bowl participant was in the top half in either season.
Two of the Cowboys’ penalties were awful calls and neither of them had an impact on the game, so they’re excused. However, the other 13 were killer:
- 5 false start calls – Tyron Smith (3), Jason Witten, Doug Free
- 2 holding calls – Free, Witten
- 2 delay of game calls – Tony Romo (2)
- 1 illegal motion call – Dez Bryant
- 1 illegal use of hands – Mackenzy Bernadeau
- 1 offsides call – DeMarcus Ware
- 1 defensive pass interference – Barry Church
The scariest part? The Cowboys committed nine of these penalties in the fourth quarter alone – a period in which Dallas had a 14-point lead at one time. That should scare the willies out of all fans, especially since Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett blamed the penalties on the crowd. It’s not like the Cowboys didn’t know MetLife Stadium would be loud, so Garrett’s excuse is pathetic.
The team and its fans should be thrilled about the win; the Cowboys finally seemed to have gotten over their stage fright in primetime games and found an antidote to the Giants’ kryptonite. Now it’s time to take it to the next level and cut down on these penalties. The numbers don’t lie it’s the only way to make a serious playoff run.