IRVING, Texas – Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is taking the blame for trying an ill-fated play at the end of the first half against Washington instead of having Tony Romo take a knee.
"I called the play," Garrett said Wednesday. "It's my fault."
Garrett called for a Hail Mary when Dallas was at its own 46-yard line with 4 seconds left and trailing 3-0. Before the snap, a penalty pushed the Cowboys back 10 yards. Romo ended up shoveling the ball to running back Tashard Choice. He fumbled and the Redskins returned it for their only touchdown in a 13-7 victory.
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said Monday he was ultimately to blame because he could've overruled Garrett. The offensive coordinator realizes he should've done it on his own.
"In hindsight, it should have been called off. Absolutely," Garrett said. "We've had an aggressive style here, really throughout our football team and on the offensive side of the ball, for the last three years and it's served us well. Having said that, you have to manage situations better.
"That was a situation where we should have just taken a knee and should have gone into the locker room."
The play loomed so big because Garrett's offense scored only one touchdown, despite producing 380 yards. It's a problem they had last season, too.
"You look at our third downs, we got into some third-and-12s, third-and-13s, -14s, -15s that were all on drives after penalties," Garrett said. "You have to be able to sustain your concentration and focus throughout a drive. Obviously making some big plays and having some of the drives be shorter (would) help too, but we'll continue to address it individually and collectively and make sure we get that right going forward."
Things could change Sunday, at home against Chicago, because Dallas may have right tackle Marc Colombo and left guard Kyle Kosier back in the lineup. Both missed the opener, but practiced Wednesday.
Colombo's return would mean sitting Alex Barron, whose three holding penalties included one on the final play that wiped out a potential game-winning touchdown catch by Roy Williams.
"We emphasize the importance of working hard each and every day in meetings and practice and rectifying some of the things that have gone wrong and going forward," Garrett said. "The Bears are going to be here on Sunday. It's going to be a great challenge for us."