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Garrett tries to defend shaky clock management

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Head coach Jason Garrett (L) and Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys look on as the Cowboys warm up before the start of their game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 20, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Cowboys coach Jason Garrett iced his own kicker on Sunday in Dallas’ loss to the Cardinals.

That was a funny, frustrating, unlucky decision for the Cowboys head coach. But it wasn’t nearly the worst coaching move he made in the final seconds on Sunday.

The Cowboys had two timeouts left when Tony Romo completed a first down to the Cardinals 31-yard line with 31 seconds left in the game. Instead of using a timeout then, the Cowboys decided to take their time and spike the ball with seven seconds left.

It made absolutely no sense. The Cowboys could have 2-3 more plays to get the ball closer for their kicker Dan Bailey.

“We very well could have taken a timeout there,” Garrett said after the game via “We felt like we were in field-goal range. We have yard lines that we use as guidelines before the game. We felt like we were in range at that point.

“You see so many situations where you have negative plays in those situations. We felt like we were in his range to give him a chance to kick the game-winner.”

We see coaches hurt their team by playing things too close to the vest too often. It happened with Norv Turner against the Broncos, and it happened with the Cowboys Sunday.

Garrett said he had no regrets. When you can set up a rookie kicker for a 49-yard field goal, you just can’t pass up an opportunity like that.

“Well, we felt pretty good about where we were,” Garrett said. “Once you get to that 30-yard line we felt like that was a pretty good opportunity for us.”

Jerry Jones did his best to be diplomatic.

“We had an alternative. We could have run two, possibly three more plays there, but we have a lot of confidence in that kicker. It didn’t work. We all would have liked to have had 20 more yards. But that’s really speculating as to what we’d have done with the ball,” Jones said.

The Cowboys played not to lose. When that happens, you usually lose.