Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy gets America’s worst-coached team carved up like a turkey

Mike McCarthy defended his disastrous fake punt call as “solid.”

Mike McCarthy defended his disastrous fake punt call as “solid.”
Image: (Getty Images)

In these dark times, it’s important to focus on the good things in life, no matter how small. We can be thankful now in 2020 that we have definitely learned what the worst fake punt call in history is.


Thanksgiving Day 2020, the Washington Football Team at Dallas.

With his defense keeping the team in the 20-16 game, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy thought trying a fake punt early in the fourth quarter on 4th-and-10 from his own 24-yard line was the right move. It’s true that outside observers never have as much information about game situations as the coaches actually in the game do, yet this decision was so stupid it will never be matched outside of 10-year-olds playing Madden on their new PS5 this Christmas.


(Scratch that, there can’t be any 10-year-old kids that dumb.)

Darian Thompson took the snap and pitched it to Cedrick Wilson for a reverse that had zero chance of gaining yardage, and it did not. Wilson was stuffed for a 1-yard loss, and on the next play, Antonio Gibson rumbled 23 yards into the end zone for the second of his three touchdowns, and the game was effectively over. The Washington Football Team tacked on two more scores for a 41-16 win.

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For once, Skip Bayless’ histrionics were not the least bit unwarranted.


But wait, it gets better. According to Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Colishaw, the play was designed for Wilson to throw to Hunter The Punter Niswander. So yeah, in a key divisional game, McCarthy decided to have a backup receiver pass to a punter with a very low percentage of success and the upside being a first down still deep in your own territory.

This is the type of decision that coaches cannot recover from. McCarthy, with an assist from special teams coach John Fassel, has now effectively lost his locker room. There are worse teams in an NFL that still includes the New York Jets, but no coach actively sabotages the way McCarthy does. How can any player perform at his best knowing that his coach doesn’t believe in you enough to think he can win without the other team completely falling asleep at the wheel?


McCarthy, for his part, said, “At that point in the game our information that you look for going into it, it was a solid call.”

Absolutely a Trumpian/MAGA- level of living in denial.

The fake punt debacle overshadows the terrible calls that happened late in the third quarter, when Dallas took over after an interception return by Jaylon Smith at the Washington 4-yard-line.


With the score 20-13, Joe Buck made reference to a “tie game, most likely.” Sir, have you seen this team?

After a ridiculous-looking counter by Zeke Elliott lost 2 yards, CeeDee Lamb lost 4 yards on a reverse, foreshadowing the disaster fake punt attempt. Andy Dalton threw an incomplete pass and Dallas settled for a field goal.


Oh yeah, there was that incomplete pass on 4th-and-inches in the second quarter instead of going to your franchise running back or a close-to-automatic quarterback sneak.

Did we even mention that this game was for first place in the NFC Least? With Gibson, a solid pass rush and the remarkable comeback from life-threatening leg injury by QB Alex Smith, the Football Team (4-7) looks like the best team in the division, which is like being the prettiest Uruk-Hai in Isengard.

In a “Hey, it’s 2020, let’s just enjoy watching the world burn” sort of way, it’d be hilariously delicious to watch Washington and disgraceful owner Dan Snyder make a playoff run and embarrass the league in this COVID-clusterfuck of a season.

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