Failed Two-Point Play Will Haunt Season

Cowboys coach Bill Parcells is being criticized far and wide for going for two points in the second quarter of the Redskins game.

The Cowboys were down 5-0 and Parcells decided to go for two following a touchdown to make it a three-point lead. The two-point conversion failed.

Looking back, if the Cowboys would have gone for the extra point, it would have been the difference in the game when Nick Novak missed a 49-yard attempt with 35 seconds to go. His miss, however, only meant the game was tied. The Cowboys then had their field goal blocked, setting up the Redskins' game-winning field goal.

Parcells is not second-guessing himself because he goes by a two-point chart, and the chart said go for two at that point no matter what.

However, there is a school of thought that suggests the time of game should be a mitigating factor, and that the second quarter was too early to go for two.

"Well, you know I know there is a lot of talk about these kinds of things now and I'm not trying to be narrow minded here at all," Parcells said. "I have not ever heard anyone give me any substantial evidence other than hypotheticals as to increasing the probability of your success by doing something differently. This is based on somewhat a mathematical thing; until I see something that ... everyone that questions these always has the advantage of a retrospective view. The wisdom of the choice is always governed by the result. I know that.

"When it doesn't work out that's what you're open to. When it does you don't hear any more about it. Until I hear someone that knows what they are talking about give me some real substantial (evidence) other than 'well it's not the right time in the game.' I don't know what the time has to do with the probability of the numerical equation other than a few less opportunities."

Parcells acknowledged that there was a time or two when he didn't go by the chart, usually when the team was down by 19 or more points. But the chart goes back to the college level and he pretty much adheres to what it says no matter what.

"It's been around for a long time," Parcells said. "It was around in college football for many years and eventually when they passed the rule in the pros it obviously gravitated to the pros. There have been times when I thought better of it in certain situations where the game was, the spread was way out. It's 19 you do this or something. But you know I thought yesterday we try to make it a one score if I could. That was on the chart. We had discussed that when it was five to nothing Redskins. We said if we score ... I said, 'What's it say up there,' and they said it says two. We had talked about it well before the situation even came up."

WASHINGTON LEFTOVERS
* WR Patrick Crayton had his best game of the season with four catches for 84 yards against the Redskins in his third receiver role. There was a chance Crayton might have started the game in place of the Terry Glenn, who was a game-time decision. Glenn played. But Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said if Glenn hadn't played, Parcells likely would have kept Crayton as the third receiver and inserted rookie Sam Hurd in the starting lineup so he wouldn't have to change two spots.

* RB Skyler Green was nondescript on kickoff returns in place of the injured Tyson Thompson, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. Green averaged 19.7 yards on three returns. Thompson was averaging 26 yards per return.

* SS Roy Williams gave up a 48-yard pass interference penalty and dropped an interception against the Redskins, but coach Bill Parcells said he was the team's best defensive back in the game.

* FS Marcus Coleman struggled in coverage against the Redskins, which is surprising to Cowboys coach Bill Parcells because Coleman is a former cornerback. Coleman got caught peeking in the backfield and was beaten for an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chris Cooley.

* OT Marc Colombo was the fall guy on the blocked field goal against the Redskins. Coach Bill Parcells said Colombo should have blocked down and then out. Colombo blocked down but never came back out, allowing for a huge gap that safety Troy Vincent ran through to block the Mike Vanderjagt field goal.

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