The Cowboys’ season came to an end on Sunday with a 23–17 loss to the 49ers at home, and the conclusion was chock-full of drama and controversy. Dallas had a chance to drive down the field and win the game in the final minute, but ran out of time before they could get the last play snapped in time.
On the last official play of the game, quarterback Dak Prescott ran a quarterback draw to the 49ers’ 24-yard line. After the run, Prescott got up and handed the ball to his center, as the rest of the offense hurried to spike the ball. 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. Time ran out before Prescott could get a chance to kill the clock, ending the game.
Afterward, fans and players alike were upset, with Cowboys fans throwing trash onto the field as players and officials headed for the locker room. Prescott was asked about this in his post-game presser, and he initially expressed disappointment that fans would throw trash at their own team’s players. When he was told they were throwing debris at the officials, he reportedly said, “Credit to them, then,” per ESPN's Ed Werder.
“The fans felt the same way as us. I guess that’s why the refs took off and got out of there so fast,” Prescott said, according to Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News. “I think everybody is upset with the way this thing played out.”
While frustration was obviously at a high following the abrupt and contentious ending to the season, Prescott's words of praise for fans hurling objects at referees will certainly come under scrutiny in the days and weeks to come.
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