By Stephen Hawkins
The Associated Press
IRVING, Texas — For all the Dallas Cowboys did right, they botched the ending.
After recovering an onside kick and benefiting from a pass interference call, the Cowboys were at the Baltimore 34 with 26 seconds left and a timeout remaining.
From there, they managed only a 1-yard pass play before Dan Bailey missed a 51-yard field goal attempt.
“We left too much meat on the bone there. We needed to get more than 1 yard when we had one timeout and 26 seconds,” coach Jason Garrett said Monday after reviewing the 31-29 road loss against the Ravens.
“It starts with the play call that I had and then it really goes from there.”
There should have been plenty of time to try to get a few extra yards.
Instead, on a play when Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree had vertical routes on opposite sides of the field, Tony Romo threw a 1-yard pass to Dez Bryant.
With precious seconds ticking away, Bryant appeared to be urging the referee for a better spot while Ogletree and Austin showed no apparent urgency with only slow jogs to get back to the line for another play.
“I know Miles and I both feel bad about what happened, because we know the outcome,” Ogletree said. “We know we missed the field goal and how close that was and how precious yardage was at the end of the day. So getting back to the line of scrimmage, maybe getting the play called, I think this will all be great for us going forward in learning a lesson.”
Austin declined to talk to reporters in the locker room Monday, refusing even when asked to offer any explanation about what happened.
Garrett said the receivers have to understand the situation and get back to the line as quickly as possible. But Garrett said coaches also have to communicate things better, and it has to be communicated better in the huddle as well.
“This is not an excuse. It’s not an explanation. But crowd noise can be a factor in that,” Garrett said. “It starts with me.”
This was the third time in the past 10 games that the Cowboys had time management issues at the end of games that were losses.
With everything out of whack in Baltimore, the timeout was finally called with 6 seconds left to set up the field goal attempt. Bailey’s kick had enough distance, but drifted just left of the upright.
Garrett spent more than 11 minutes Monday, the first portion of his media briefing, discussing how the final half-minute played out in Baltimore.
The Cowboys (2-3) scored on Romo’s 4-yard touchdown to Bryant with 36 seconds left. But Bryant, who had 13 catches for 95 yards and two scores, couldn’t make the play for a tying 2-point conversion.
Dallas recovered an onside kick, and Ogletree drew a pass interference penalty on first play. That stopped the clock and moved the ball 20 yards to the Ravens 34 before the 1-yard gain to Bryant.
“We had tried to work on these situations a number of different times with our team (in practice),” Garrett said. “We didn’t respond well enough to that situation, getting back quickly enough or using the timeout and changing the circumstances in dealing with that type of situation.”
Ogletree said the team has rehearsed similar scenarios and that they are “a major emphasis right now just because of how that went.”
The ending spoiled what had been a solid performance for the team, and what Garrett called a lot of positive things to build on moving on in the season.
The Cowboys rolled up 481 total yards, their most in two years, including 227 yards on 42 rushing attempts. They ran 79 offensive plays, matching the most in a single game in franchise history.
And still, they lost for the third time in four games since their season-opening win at the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Dallas plays Sunday at Carolina.
“We make it abundantly clear that there are no such things as moral victories,” Garrett said. “This is a bottom-line business and we need to win ball games.”
Notes: RB DeMarco Murray had an MRI on his sprained left foot, but Garrett said they were still trying to determine the extent of the injury. ... CB Mike Jenkins, who missed the offseason and training camp because of his surgically repaired right shoulder, had an MRI on that shoulder after getting banged up in Baltimore. ... DT Sean Lissemore had a walking boot on his sprained right ankle and will miss some time.
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP—NFL
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