As it turns out, it was all a matter of time at the end of Cowboys-Chargers.
The Cowboys netted a game-winning field goal off the leg of Greg Zuerlein on Sunday over the Chargers, picking up a 20-17 win, the first for Dallas this season.
But seconds prior to the 56-yard buzzer beater, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was second-guessing the use of a second-saving timeout.
To set the scene: With the clock running and the Cowboys driving, Dallas had more than enough time to run another play with around 30 seconds left in the game and a timeout in their pocket. Rather than run a play to potentially improve field position and give the kicker a more palatable field-goal try, McCarthy and the Cowboys staff let the clock run all the way down to four seconds before calling a timeout.
Needless to say, heads were scratched on the curious game management. After the win, Cowboys coach McCarthy tried explaining the strategy — or lack thereof — in his postgame press conference.
Mike McCarthy: “The clock situation — I’ve never had a clock go off the board on me like that…”— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) September 19, 2021
Mike McCarthy on the clock management late: “The clock I was watching went off the board.” He said Kellen had a clock he was watching, that got blocked by a camera.— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) September 19, 2021
To hear it from Mike McCarthy, the clock went off the boards after Tony Pollard’s final touch, & they had a miscommunication about personnel at the same time. So they were communicating with the box about the clock while also trying to put the right personnel on the field.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 19, 2021
According to McCarthy, the clock "went off the boards" after the last Tony Pollard run, and coupled that confusion with personnel they were trying to put on the field with the game on the line.
Needless to say, this isn't the first time McCarthy has confused the masses with his curious clock-management decisions, as that was one of his key coaching flaws during his time with the Packers.
All's well that ends well, though: The kick pushed the Cowboys to 1-1 on the year, full-steam ahead into next Monday night's matchup vs. the Eagles.
But the next time McCarthy manages the clock right may be the first time.