Down six points with no timeouts and under a minute remaining, Dallas embarked on a desperation drive against San Francisco.

Needing a touchdown to keep their season alive, the Cowboys put together a fairly incredible series of plays to get to the 49er forty yard line with fourteen seconds remaining. The rare first down hook and lateral, for example, kicked things off:

Having gotten into position to take a few cracks at the end zone, Dallas decided to run something very different. As in literally running the ball, up the middle, with no timeouts remaining. Here’s how what ended up being the final play of the game sounded on CBS:

That’s an absolutely wild decision, so much so that Nantz and Romo were completely unprepared for it. Everyone was, though, and their adjustment to immediately trying to figure out if it was going to work for the Cowboys. Nantz was adamant it wouldn’t work, while Romo thought they’d have time until the umpire was late arriving; once he took time to move the ball back six inches, it was too late.

Then there was further confusion, as officials conferred. This sequence will stick with me for a long time, coming in the wake of that particular playcall:

Romo: “Of course that’s ridiculous for the game to end like that, Jim. Wow, I am lived if I’m a Cowboy fan, and if I’m a Niner fan…”

Ref: “That’s the end of the game!”

Nantz: “The game is over!! The game is over.”

Cowboys fans probably were livid, as they should be! Obviously the umpire situation is weird in itself, but that’s the very real risk you take with that playcall in that spot. Two shots at the end zone (or at a defensive penalty) from the 40 seemed very much more likely to result in a score than hoping you could pull off that scramble play and then take one shot from marginally closer.

What an incredible way for a playoff game to finish. Honestly there’s nothing quite like a moment of gross NFL coaching incompetence in a big spot. It brought out the best in the broadcasters, who handled the unexpected very well.

Also think about how mad Jerry Jones is right now! He has to be furious! It’s all great.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.