While watching from a hotel room was’ brutal ‘, Mike McCarthy is proud of Cowboys’ win


Mike McCarthy calls parts of the season segments.

Segment 2 of this 2021 season ended Thursday night in New Orleans. The Cowboys held off the Saints, winning 27-17, to end a two-game losing streak and enter a 10-day break feeling better about themselves.

Still, McCarthy called the last part of Segment 2 brutal to watch because he wasn’t in the Superdome. The Cowboys head coach was in a hotel room yelling and screaming on his flat screen, hoping the other guests wouldn’t call the front desk about a strange man making a lot of noise.

McCarthy watched from the hotel room because he tested positive for COVID-19 and as he continues to conduct business virtually with a plan to return to The Star soon, he was proud of the production of his football team.

It’s a football team reeling from a COVID-19 outbreak, which cost them not only McCarthy but also a starting right tackle, an offensive line coach, two strength and conditioning coaches and two assistant coaches.

“It was brutal not to be a part of it,” McCarthy said Friday afternoon from a hotel room. “I had great confidence in the preparation and saw communication develop in the match. I think everyone took care of their preparation phase and I was very proud and satisfied with the performance, the energy and the level emotionally. I thought our guys were definitely ready to play and played hard throughout the competition.

McCarthy was left helpless to watch defensive coordinator Dan Quinn take over. Quinn is a man who was head coach in Atlanta for six seasons, where he led them to a Super Bowl appearance.

Quinn was the game manager / defensive coordinator using assistant coaches in different ways, like tight ends coach Lunda Wells turning into offensive line coach with Joe Philbin out due to COVID-19.

Will McClay, vice president of player personnel for the Cowboys, walked from Quinn’s assistance in the press box to the field during Thursday’s game.

The plan McCarthy formulated, virtually, worked.

The defense forced four turnovers, getting three interceptions in the fourth quarter, a dormant running game found to life when Tony Pollard came down the Cowboys sideline for a 58-yard touchdown, taking a three-point lead to 20- 10.

Cornerback Trevon Diggs stepped up again, netting his ninth interception of the season with 4:42 remaining to seal the game. When defensive tackle Carlos Watkins caught a 29-yard touchdown pass, the “Who Dat? The cry of the Saints fans died down.

“It’s definitely a Christmas present in advance,” Watkins said of pick 6. “It’s every fat guy’s dream to have a pick and reach the end zone. every guys dream.

McCarthy never dreamed he would miss an NFL game. Never. But here’s McCarthy, his cell phone buzzing with text messages from family and friends wanting to chat about his team.

He turned off the phone, trying to focus on how his group was dealing with this new ordeal of adversity. He thinks that can only strengthen a team’s determination and that the Cowboys finished segment 2 of their season playing three games over a 12-day span, it was a test they passed.

“You need these wins,” McCarthy said. “You need those opportunities and experiences in the face of adversity and take them forward because obviously the toughest football is ahead of you. It always is. December football is always what is happening because that’s obviously the launch pad that I think you need to get out of to be a playoff team and excel in the playoffs.

I love all times of adversity. I think this not only tells you a lot about your team, but it gives you experiences that you can’t really create in practice and training environments. So it happens every year. It’s not like you can avoid it.

The Cowboys have four of their five remaining games against the NFC East. It’s a chance to clinch the division title and think about the seeds of the playoffs. Three of the games are on the road, starting next Sunday in Landover, Md., Against Washington.

McCarthy expects to be on the sidelines the rest of the season, especially now after his team responded with a declared victory.

“It’s huge, we know it’s important,” said quarterback Dak Prescott. “We have to win this division. We must continue to establish who we are and who we are in this division. We’ve had each team come to DC twice, it’s important for us to be healthy, to rest and to make sure we’re coming the right way.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) plays in a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on December 2, 2021.

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