Stoerner’s Four Turnovers Lead To Second-Half Meltdown, Loss To Giants
(A season-by-season look at one game the 21st Century Dallas Cowboys would love to throw back)
2001: Week 7 New York Giants 27 Cowboys 24 OT
Many and wonderful are the fabled “halftime adjustments” from the coaching geniuses of the NFL. However, being a genius is one distinction that Jack Reilly never quite attained in his career.
Reilly was brought to Dallas to be the offensive coordinator because his was a quarterback-friendly offense predicated on short-to-medium timing patterns designed to help the signal-caller make quick deliveries while remaining upright in the pocket.
But on a crisp autumn day in the Meadowlands, Reilly’s credentials blew up in his face during a needless loss to the New York Giants.
On a day in which Clint Stoerner made his second career start at quarterback, it was the Dallas defense which came up big in the first half, scoring two touchdowns to hand Dallas a 24-7 halftime advantage.
That’s when the 55-year old Reilly slipped and fell not only off the wagon, but off the entire football earth. Rather than stick with the conservative offensive approach which had worked well in the first half, Reilly opted to turn loose his young QB, as if in a shootout with St Louis’ Greatest Show on Turf.
The result remains one of Cowboy infamy, as Stoerner tossed four second-half interceptions and watched a 17-point lead devolve into a 27-24 overtime defeat.
Stoerner, who was yanked late in the fourth quarter for Ryan Leaf, never played a down in the NFL again, while Reilly has been just as inconspicuous in NFL coaching circles since being fired after that ill-fated 5-11 season.
(You can read more about Clint Stoerner and the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback carousel of 2001 in Ryan Bush’s book “Decade of Futility.”)