DALLAS — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is facing criticism after postgame comments he made seemed to approve of fans who were hurling trash and bottles at referees as they left the field following a controversial ending to Dallas' loss against the 49ers.
After initially it seemed like Prescott thought a reporter was stating the trash was thrown on the field in regards to the team losing, reporters corrected him, saying trash was thrown at refs. Prescott then responded, "credit to them then."
“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 went on to say. “I think everybody is upset with the way this thing played out.”
It was a controversial ending to the game when Dallas was driving with limited time on the clock and no timeouts. With less than 20 seconds on the clock, Prescott took off running down the open middle of the field before sliding.
He had to pop up quick in order to get the ball placed and then spike it before time ran out.
"Dak did a great job pushing it down as far as he can, I think he got down to about the 23-yard line," former Cowboys receiver and Locked On Podcast Network insider Isaiah Stanback said. "He slid, got down. When he came up, typically you want to give the ball to the referee. The referee has to touch the ball before the snap. That was mistake number one.”
Prescott instead gave the ball to center Tyler Biadasz, who set it down. The ref had to sprint in to touch and place the ball, but Stanback said it was a bit fumbled by the official. The ref was sprinting back and bumped into Prescott, who bumped into center Biadasz. But, he said the big issue was when the ref took the ball from the center and moved it just to move it back.
“If you go back and look at the still shot, the referee got his hand on the ball with four seconds left," he said. "So four seconds left, the referee had his hand on the ball, to the time that Dak tried to snap it and spike it, time ran out. That’s why everyone is wondering why didn’t New York call down and add more time on the clock.”
Of course, it would have been a final play from about 24 yards for the Cowboys to get a chance to tie or win.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after the game he wasn’t blaming the loss on the controversial ending.
“The team should not have been in a position to make that last play be something controversial,” Jones said. “I’m not going to make it bigger than it is."
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Referee Alex Kemp said in the pool report that umpire Ramon George was trailing the play at a proper distance and acted appropriately to get the ball spotted correctly.
Kemp said the decision that the snap came after the clock had expired was made on the field, not on a replay assist from New York.
“The umpire was simply spotting the ball properly,” Kemp said. “He collided with the players as he was setting the ball because he was moving it to the proper spot.”
The Cowboys were down early to the 49ers and couldn't catch back up. Stanback said San Francisco's game plan was predictable offensively, but the Dallas defense couldn't settle in the first half. And then Dallas' offense missed far too many opportunities in the second.
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“It really appeared as if they did not have the film study, it seemed like they weren’t prepared as to who the 49ers were," Stanback said. "They were a running team and Dallas knew they were a running team. They knew the 49ers were going to come in and be physical, work their way down the field, they were going to be patient and diligent in their approach and that’s exactly what they did.”
Stanback said Jerry Jones did exactly what he needed to do in terms of roster construction and coaching staff to set up the Cowboys for ultimate success.
“When they showed up Sunday, they just didn’t take care of business," Stanback said. "I would put a lot of the blame on Kellen Moore and the offense. The second half of the season they have not been that productive. I know people are going to look at the stats that this is the No. 1 offense in the league, but the stats tell one story, the execution tells another.”
Sunday marked Dallas' 11th playoff loss in their last 15 playoff games.
The 49ers move on to play the Green Bay Packers next week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report