Cowboys, Steelers, Patriots React to Playoff Losses

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Divisional -  


"The next one is a new tradition we start today with our first playoff win. It goes to the city of Cincinnati, and we pass this thing out at bars across Cincinnati tonight and we let the fans celebrate with us. Every playoff game from here on out, the city shares in this with us."

—Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor dedicated the team's first playoff win in 31 years to the city of Cincinnati, eventually delivering the game ball to local bar Mt. Lookout Tavern after the game. (

"I tried to downplay it and all that because this is how it's gonna be from here on out. Was a great win for us. But now this is the standard for the bare minimum every year going forward."

—Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, on the other hand, downplayed the franchise milestone, declaring this the new standard for Cincinnati. (


Dak Prescott: "That's sad. You're talking about a team, you're talking about men that come out each and every day of their lives and give everything to this sport, give everything to this game of football. Nobody wants to succeed more than we want to succeed. I understand fans and the word fan, for 'fanatic.' I get that, but to know everything that we put into this, day in and day out, try our hardest, nobody comes in the game expecting to lose. For people to react that way when you're supposed to be a supporter and be with us through thick and thin, that's tough."

Reporter: "I think they were aiming at the referees."

DP: "Well, sh*t. Credit to them, then."

—Upon hearing from reporters that Dallas Cowboys fans had thrown trash onto the field and in direction of players following the team's loss on wild-card weekend, quarterback Dak Prescott had two very different responses depending on who the fans' target was. Prescott later issued an apology and was subsequently fined $25,000. (Dallas Cowboys via YouTube)


"If you like chocolate cake and you eat a piece, and then you have one dangling in front of your face, you're probably going to want to eat that too. Not much is going to stop you, so that's how you feel about the Super Bowl. That is the chocolate cake with the ultimate frosting. You're going to try to go get it if you can, the best you can."

—Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is on the hunt for rings and cake this postseason, stringing the two together in a food analogy only Reid could have come up with. (Megan Strickland, KSHB 41 News via Twitter)


"Extraordinarily disappointed. Very disappointed. Disappointed for our fans. This is quite a letdown. … They outplayed us."

"When you get this combination of players together, you need to have success because we all know how it goes in the NFL. The whole thing is set up to take away from the best and add to the ones that need improvement. And personnel-wise, I think we have one of the best."

—Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones addressed the media following yet another early playoff exit for his team. Dallas has not made it to the NFC Championship Game since they won the Super Bowl in 1995, falling short in 11 playoff berths over a 27-year period. (

"We had great confidence in that situation because we were just trying to get inside the 30-yard line to change the play call for the final play. So, it's the right call based on our preparation. It's a 13-second threshold is the call. So, that 14 seconds, in my view, that's the right call."

"The center can spot the ball. The receiver can spot the ball. So (the opinion) of 'you can't spot the ball' is not correct. So, the center can spot the ball. Our guys are trained to spot the ball exactly how the referee spots the ball. … Obviously, the umpire has to come in and all he has to do is touch it."

"You're in a 3, 2, 1 situation, you snap the ball. Obviously that didn't happen, right there at that point, so as far as the training of Dak getting the ball to Tyler (Biadasz), Tyler getting it down on the hashmark, that part was intact. So obviously we gotta factor in what happened there, at the end of that play because we have repped it, like I said, there's training that's gone into that situation."

—Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy justified his decision to run a quarterback draw with 14 seconds left in the game and no timeouts. The Cowboys were unable to snap the ball in time to spike it and potentially set up a shot at the end zone, losing the game once the clock expired. (


"Deebo has been a stud all year, as everyone knows, and right before he went out there, he just mouthed something to me, which I kind of guessed was, 'Give me the ball.' When I look at him talking that way, it's extremely motivating, and he makes it a lot easier to call plays."

—San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan on offensive weapon Deebo Samuel, describing the events that transpired just before Samuel's 26-yard rushing touchdown against Dallas that extended San Francisco's lead to 23-7. (


"I think it means a lot more to you guys and all that. I just want to be a part of this team and help us win. I trust in myself, trust in my abilities, trust in my teammates. I'll go out there and play and let the chips fall where they may."

—Fresh off the heels of his first postseason win, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford chose not to relish the moment and is already on to the next one. (


"I have been here a long time and it has been a lot of fun. Like I said, God has blessed me. We joke a lot about the Browns and going there but it was meant to be that I was going to wear black and gold.

"Draft day, I had a black suit on with a gold tie. I'm just so thankful. I hope that I'm able to pass the legacy of what it is to be a Steeler from Dan Rooney, you know? We all miss him, anyone who knew him misses him and so, it's just, hopefully I could pass some of that on to the guys and continue the tradition of what it means to be a Steeler."

—Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took some time to reflect on his time in Pittsburgh following the team's 42-21 playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. (


"Rich is one of a kind. Everybody's been asking, what's going to happen? Everybody knows my vote. I made that very clear. I love Rich. I think he's the best man for the job. He has come in and done such an amazing job. We won 10 games with a team that has had tragedy, loss, everything you could imagine. And he has found a way to get a group of guys to come together and win football games in January and December, which is rare. Rich is the real deal, he's a leader of men."

—Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby gave his stump speech for interim head coach Rich Bisaccia on the Rich Eisen Show, advocating for him to transition to full-time head coach. (Rich Eisen Show via Twitter)


"I sent him two kegs of beer yesterday."

—Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni has a fool-proof plan to coax center Jason Kelce back to the Eagles this offseason. (Dave Zangaro, NBC Sports Philadelphia via Twitter)


"Halftime. I thought I had two [sacks], but then I checked my phone because our D-line coach was like, 'They're giving it to you, they're giving it to you. You have it.' A couple of other guys were like, 'No, you're not.' So I checked my phone at halftime, which I never do. Then J.J. and my brothers, in the group chat were like, 'They're only giving you one, man. You have got to go get another one.' Tried like hell to get one, but they were running the ball a whole bunch. Wasn't in the cards."

—Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt had to check his phone at halftime to see whether or not he had set the single-season sack record, only to find out from his brothers that he had fallen just shy of history. (SBNation via Instagram)


"That's not the way we envisioned tonight going. The thing about being in the playoffs: When it ends, it's kind of like a crash landing."

—New England Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater provides a sobering yet eloquent description of the Patriots' wild-card collapse against the Buffalo Bills. New England allowed touchdowns on all seven Buffalo offensive drives in a 47-17 drubbing. (The Athletic)



—Donna Kelce, mother of Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, had herself quite the eventful wild-card weekend attempting to catch bother her sons' games.

—Donna began her afternoon at Jason's game in Tampa, Florida, and arrived just in time to see Travis throw a touchdown in Kansas City, Missouri.

—Donna even had the opportunity (and somehow, enough energy) to ask Travis a question during his postgame press conference.


7 comments, Last at 22 Jan 2022, 9:21am

#7 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2022 - 9:21am

When Woodrow Wilson made his 14 points speech folks in Poland could just say “Wilson” and others would understand. 

Today football fans can say to another “McCarthy” and that says everything needed 

Points: 0

#1 by Pat // Jan 21, 2022 - 4:09pm

So (the opinion) of 'you can't spot the ball' is not correct.

Dear God, McCarthy. No one's saying that the players can't place the ball on the ground. They're saying the ball is not spotted (made ready for play) until a referee does it. Period. That's the freaking definition.

If a player puts it at the right spot, then yeah, a ref can come in and just "touch" (put his hand on) it. But the center didn't put it at the right spot, it was a bit off, so the umpire re-placed it.

I don't even think it needs to be the umpire (there was a quote from the NFL about this a while ago) - if the Cowboys had warned the officials ahead of time, the back judge could've made it ready for play a lot faster. It's just that it's the umpire's job normally.

The quote wasn't quite as bad as I thought when I heard it first (definitely not as bad as Dak's, which was horrible), but c'mon, you've gotta take the blame there as a head coach.

Points: 0

#2 by dmb // Jan 21, 2022 - 4:47pm

The umpire was pretty generous in his re-placement, too -- on replay, it sure looks like Prescott began his slide at the 26, a full two yards behind where he self-"spotted" it. The umpire seemed to be trying to do his best to make a token gesture of moving it back a little without actually going back through the center a second time, which is what he would've needed to do in order to spot the ball accurately.

Points: 0

#3 by Pat // Jan 21, 2022 - 5:24pm

Totally agree. I mean, it's not the first time a player's gifted himself a few yards in a 2-minute drill, but you don't always get lucky with those things. Absolutely baffles me that anyone's even suggesting that the refs were at fault there.

Points: 0

#6 by KnotMe // Jan 21, 2022 - 6:35pm

I don't think anyone other than the Cowboys (and maybe their media/fans) has suggested the refs were at fault there. 

Kinda funny that there is all this outcry that they didn't get a chance to try something that has maybe a  15% chance of working anyway. Heck, this was waaaay more entertaining than them running a play and failing. Probably worked out better for the Cowboys than their standard playoff loss too. 

Points: 0

#4 by almon // Jan 21, 2022 - 5:50pm

... but did McCarthy practice with a ref running up from one side of scrimmage to the other side? Bet they didn't practice putting the ball anywhere other than the right spot either

Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support Cale
Support Football Outsiders' independent media and Cale Clinton. Use promo code CALE to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip Cale.