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Two-point snafu gave Mike McCarthy a pass for play-calling blunder

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The two-point snafu that suddenly turned a Lions upset of the Cowboys into a 20-19 loss became the primary talking point emerging from Saturday night’s game. That’s very good news for Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy. McCarthy gifted the Lions an extra 40 seconds or so on the final Dallas drive of the game, by dialing up a pass on second and 14 from the Detroit 33. The Lions at the time had one timeout remaining. If the Cowboys had run the ball twice, they could have taken at least 40 extra seconds off the clock before kicking the field goal that gave Dallas a 20-13 lead. Detroit got the ball back, after the perfunctory touchback on the kickoff, at their own 25 with 1:41 to play and no timeouts. They should have had a minute or less. While that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have scored, it would have been much more difficult to move the ball 75 yards in 60 seconds than in 101. That’s all on McCarthy. He made a mistake in a key moment. This becomes important because, if/when McCarthy does that in a playoff game and if/when McCarthy doesn’t get bailed out by unrelated circumstances, that could be the kind of thing that gets ownership to decide to make a change. Which gets back to something I’ve said on #PFTPM and on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. When it comes to potential destinations for Patriots coach Bill Belichick, don’t focus on the non-playoff teams. Look at the playoff teams that lose in the wild-card round or the divisional round, if they lose as a result of a coaching blunder. Belichick would surely prefer to take the reins of a playoff-ready roster, and not to embark on a multi-year rebuild. If an owner becomes sufficiently exasperated with the mistakes of a coach of a playoff-ready team, could that owner become ready to embrace someone like Belichick? We’ll never know, if McCarthy avoids the kind of mistake he made last night. If, however, the Cowboys fail (again) to get to the conference championship game and if the loss can be traced to a McCarthy mistake, it could be his last tango in Dallas. And the door could swing open for a locking of arms between two men who most will doubt can coexist: Jerry Jones and Bill Belichick.