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Referee Alex Kemp said in a pool report that umpire Ramon George did everything correctly in spotting the ball. Quarterback Dak Prescott said he and the Cowboys did everything correctly to have time to spike the ball before the clock ran out.
“I thought I did (spike the ball in time),” Prescott said. “I didn’t hear what the ref said, what their announcement was. I just saw them running off the field and the Niners running on the field and celebrating, so understood what had happened.”
The Cowboys were out of timeouts with 14 seconds left when offensive coordinator Kellen Moore called for a quarterback draw to try to get close enough for a better play than a Hail Mary. Prescott ran 17 yards to the San Francisco 24, and the Cowboys scrambled to the line to try to spike the ball before time ran out. It didn’t happen.
The Cowboys snapped the ball with one second left and spiked it with no time left.
“We were going to get some yards and get down and clock it,” Prescott said. “It’s something we’ve practiced over and over again. Ran. Went and got some yards. Went down. As I was getting behind (center) Tyler (Biadasz), saw four seconds left. I thought there was obviously time to make sure everybody was set, and then honestly, just got hit from behind (by the umpire). Still, when I got up (under center), I saw two seconds. I thought I could get the snap and get it down before time expired. I’m not sure what happened other than that.”
Former NFL executive Scott Pioli criticized Prescott on Twitter for not handing the ball to the umpire to spot. “This is why coaches teach situational football!!” Pioli wrote. “The ball carrier CANNOT set the ball after the play! It’s why you teach players to HAND ball to official in hurry up. Everyone should know that rule and every team should be practicing it!!”
Prescott and the umpire bumped into each other as George tried to set the ball. Prescott said the Cowboys practice handing the ball to Biadasz.
“We’ve practiced it,” Prescott said. “You hand it to the center. The umpire, all he has to do is usually come in and tap the ball. Yeah, I mean, don’t necessarily know exactly why the hit happened, I guess. I knew he was going to come in and touch the ball. You can say, yeah, he needs to be closer to the ball or whatever. In hindsight, just tough. Yeah, tough to accept.”
Prescott spiked the ball, and, after a brief delay, Kemp announced the game was over.
“I’d like to get a play off, knowing everything that happened, thinking that I spiked the ball in time,” Prescott said. “That or not, yeah, I mean with the official getting in the way of the play as well. Tough. Tough. Just tough.”
Dak Prescott insists he spiked the ball before the clock ran out originally appeared on Pro Football Talk