Garrett takes blame for pre-halftime play that led to 'Skins TD

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is taking the blame for trying an ill-fated play at the end of the first half Sunday against the Washington Redskins 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 46-yard line with four seconds left and trailing 3-0. A penalty before the snap pushed the Cowboys back 10 yards. Romo ended up shoveling the ball to running back Tashard Choice, and the ball was stripped by Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall with help from Lorenzo Alexander and Andre Carter. Hall picked up the ball and ran for the score, somersaulting into the end zone -- Washington's only touchdown in a 13-7 victory.

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said Monday he was ultimately to blame because he could have overruled Garrett, who said Wednesday he shouldn't have needed prodding to change the play.

"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. The Cowboys struggled with that 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 the Chicago Bears, because the Cowboys might 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, who committed three holding penalties, including 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."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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