Cowboys flunk situational football late

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has preaches the importance of situational football every day. The Cowboys did not do well in situations in the 31-30 loss to the Detroit Lions.

The Phillip Tanner run was chronicled on Monday evening. Garrett said Tanner should not have bounced the third-down run to the left, which forced a holding penalty on left tackle Tyron Smith.

But there were two other late-game situations where the Cowboys did not perform well.

On Matthew Stafford's game-winning leap, several defensive players did not come off the ball, believing Stafford was set for the spike. As a result, Stafford was able to reach the ball over the goal line.

“We have to handle that situation better and that goes to coaching, that goes to playing, everyone has to understand the possibility in that situation,” Garrett said. “Certainly I think there was an anticipation in some way, shape or form that they were going to spike the ball in that deal, but it’s not for us to decide that they’re going to do that. We have to decide to play football, get in stances, defend them if they want to run the ball. The quarterback sneak was one logical thing they could do there if they didn’t want to spike it. That’s just a great lesson for everybody and there’s a level of readiness you have to have. In some ways you think you’re ready for that kind of situation but you have to be down, you have to be ready and we weren’t and we have to do a better job of that in that situation.”

On the ensuing kickoff, linebacker Kyle Bosworth fielded the ball at the Cowboys 33 and ran out of bounds, running a handful of seconds off the clock.

“There are two things we should’ve done in that situation: simply run north and south and get down or simply get down immediately,” Garrett said. “What you don’t want to do is you don’t want to bounce and go to the sidelines and chew up that time. It probably would’ve been two or three seconds difference. Maybe that gives us another play. That’s how we could’ve handled that situation and we addressed that.”