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The Loser Papers – 2018 Edition IV

By Deadskins | October 23rd, 2018

The sweetest job the editors of TLP have is to publish issues from the scumbag town of Dallas. It makes us downright giddy. You can’t fool us, that caravan of folks coming up from South America is marching to Arlington to see their favorite team. Before the game ended with a resounding DOINK, the Redskins were thoroughly outplaying the Cowchips, though it wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard. But how did justice prevail?

Let’s find out from The Dallas Morning News.

The decision was obvious in Cowboys-Redskins. But again, Jason Garrett botched it

By Kevin Sherrington, Staff Columnist

Even before Sunday’s 20-17 flop finally played out at FedEx Field, you had a pretty good idea that Jason Garrett wouldn’t go radical at the end. He’s simply not that kind of guy. He’s Ward Cleaver, not Johnny Depp.

A coach of a superior team might be able to get away with playing for the tie instead of a win, even if the numbers say it’s not the way to go.

Garrett must realize before it’s officially too late that he’s no longer coaching a superior team, at least not on offense. Pro Football Focus still ranks his offensive line in the league’s upper third, but closer to the bottom of that grouping than the top. His quarterback is game, but he’s no Patrick Mahomes. And, with the exception of Cole Beasley and an occasional flash of brilliance from Michael Gallup, his wide receivers and tight ends don’t make up for the quarterback’s shortcomings.

None of the above is any revelation if you’ve watched this team play. Neither is the difference between the Cowboys’ record at home and on the road.

Frankly, the Cowboys are closer to what they played like Sunday than what they seemed in a rout of the Jaguars. And if Garrett doesn’t come to the same conclusion soon and remains true to his nature instead, he’ll miss some makeable playoffs.

Before we get into what’s left of this NFC East race, let’s revisit the final 52 seconds Sunday:

On first down, Dak Prescott hit Cole Beasley for 9 yards to Washington’s 37, a play that cost the Cowboys a precious 24 seconds. Then a 6-yard reception by Beasley ate up another 16.

Two pass plays. Forty seconds.

With 12 seconds left, Zeke Elliott ran the ball up the middle for 2 yards to the Washington 29. And then Garrett called a timeout with 3 seconds remaining to go for the tie, which, incredibly, was his plan the whole time.

Not a touchdown. A field goal.

Not a win. Overtime.

Believe it or not, The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published research earlier this year that examined every instance over the last 10 years in which NFL teams went for the tie (PAT) or win (2-point conversion). Coaches overwhelmingly chose to avoid the risk of immediate defeat (89 percent) and kicked. For the most part, it cost them. They won 40 percent of the time, a figure less than the average success rate (50 percent) of a 2-point conversion.

Researchers found the same risk-averse nature among NBA coaches. When needing a 2-point field goal to tie or a trey to win, they went with the former 71.1 percent of the time. The 3-point gamblers won 17.3 percent of the time.

The coaches who went for the tie: 14.5 percent winners.

An old baseball adage holds that you go for the win on the road and the tie at home. I don’t have any numbers to back it up, but it makes sense. And for obvious reasons, especially for these Cowboys.

As you may have noticed by now, the Cowboys aren’t very good on the road this season. They’re 3-0 at home and 0-4 outside JerryWorld. If you’ve got a chance to steal a game in the final seconds, thus avoiding any more time in a hostile environment, it seems prudent to give it a shot.

Garrett didn’t even try to win in regulation. No pass into the end zone. No passes to the sidelines.

See the future, Jason, before yours runs out.

Full story here.

Previous edition of Loser Papers.

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