Given their massive fanbase and high-profile owner, Cowboys playoff games are rarely boring. Sunday's chaotic ending against the 49ers in the wild-card round might have set a new standard for postseason mayhem.
Dallas mounted an impressive comeback, cutting a 23-7 fourth-quarter deficit to 23-17. The Cowboys got the ball at their own 20-yard line with 32 seconds left and no timeouts remaining, then subsequently drove to San Francisco's 41-yard line with 14 seconds remaining. Then, everything went haywire.
The Cowboys ran a quarterback draw, with Dak Prescott scampering up the middle to the 49ers's 24-yard line. As the clock continued to tick down, Dallas hurried to get set up to spike the ball. After sliding to end his run, Prescott got up and handed the ball to his center, who got ready to snap it. But by rule, the referee must touch and spot the ball before the next play can begin. As the umpire ran from behind the play to do so, he collided with Prescott and the offensive line, delaying his spotting of the ball, and time ran out before Prescott could get a chance to kill the clock.
After huddling to discuss the situation, the official announced that the game was over, and the 49ers began their celebration. Though the play gained 17 yards, the decision to call a quarterback draw with such little time on the clock is certainly one that will be scrutinized in perpetuity, along with the collision between the umpire and Prescott as the ball was being set. Regardless, after the dust cloud settled, it's the 49ers who will head to Green Bay for the divisional round, while the Cowboys are going home.
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