ARLINGTON, Texas - If the Dallas Cowboys don't make the playoff this season, and Jerry Jones decides to fire Jason Garrett, the coach can only blame himself.
Garrett let Tony Romo, his $108-million quarterback, and pass-happy offensive coordinator Bill Callahan potentially determine his fate with some of the dumbest decisions you'll ever see intelligent people make Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.
Understand, pretty much the only way a team can blow a 23-point second-half lead at home is with dumb play calling and turnovers, but that's exactly what the Cowboys did.
Green Bay 37, Dallas 36.
It would be unbelievable, but we saw this just two seasons ago when the Detroit Lions rallied from a 27-3 third-quarter deficit to beat the Cowboys in this same stadium.
Apparently, Garrett learned nothing.
The Lions rallied that day in part because they returned interceptions for touchdowns on consecutive third-quarter drives. This time, Garrett, Callahan and Romo collaborated to ignore running back DeMarco Murray in the second half.
Just so you know, Murray finished with 134 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. He had 11 carries for 93 and a touchdown at halftime. How does a team throw the ball 48 times in a game it leads 26-3, 29-10 and 36-24 in the second half?
From 1:04 of the third quarter until Romo's interception with 2:58 left, the Cowboys dropped back to pass on 14 of 15 plays, while never leading by fewer than five points.
Ridiculous. Blame Garrett.
Jerry Jones made Garrett a walk-around head coach in the offseason to handle situations just like this. He's supposed to speak up in certain situations and dictate the strategy.
This is when Garrett should've demanded the Cowboys run the ball, especially since Green Bay couldn't stop Murray.
He gained at least 4 yards on 14 of his 18 carries and had four runs of 10 yards or more. Murray's only negative run occurred on his fourth carry of the game.
But Garrett took a passive role and let Romo and Callahan dictate the offensive approach instead of asserting himself. What happened in the last five minutes is a fireable offense.
Leading 36-31 with 4:17 left, Green Bay had scored on four consecutive possessions. We've seen this defense all year. No way, you could trust them to protect a lead.
The Cowboys needed to score or burn virtually all of the time off the clock.
A 13-yard slant to Dez Bryant on third-and-12 gave the Cowboys a first down with 3:02 left. Two more first downs and Green Bay probably wouldn't have enough time to come back.
A 4-yard run up the middle by Murray forced the Packers to burn their second timeout with 2:58 left. According to website Advanced NFL Stats, the Cowboys had an 88 percent chance of winning at that time.
Callahan called another running play as he should've done. Remember a few weeks ago, when Garrett became more involved in the play calling. Callahan gives the play to Garrett, who gives it to Romo.
During those few seconds Garrett can talk to Romo. That's when Garrett should've implored Romo to keep the running play no matter how many defenders Green Bay stacked in the box to stop the run.