For the second time in three weeks, it was Dez Bryant that Tony Romo found in the end zone with a chance to make a big play in the final seconds. Last time, Bryant couldn’t hang on to the ball. This time, he simply landed a matter of two inches, with his fingers, beyond the line; instead of beating the New York Giants, they Dallas Cowboys are 3-4 and moving on to face the only undefeated team in the NFL.
A roller coaster of game, that saw the Giants take a 23-0 lead in the middle of the first quarter. We saw everything that was good and bad about Tony Romo in one game. Throwing three first half interceptions that were mostly his fault this time. No talk about blown routed and misunderstandings with the offensive line. Romo was sacked four times in the game and could have gotten better protection, but those mistakes were on him.
Having no running game puts more pressure on you. Felix Jones used to be one of the faster guys around. At the moment, he lacks any kind of confidence, speed and explosiveness He did score a touchdown, but he finished the game with 19 yards on 13 carries, never getting more than 5. DeMarco Murray couldn’t have been more in need on this one.
And with all that was wrong, the Cowboys managed to put together an impressive comeback through the second and third quarter. Romo started clicking with his receivers and three of them (Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten) finished with over 100 yards. Romo especially went to his favorite target, Jason Witten, catching 18 passes for 167 yards. He was targeted 22 times.
And while the Cowboys defense did a good job throughout the match by not allowing Eli Manning to get into his usual rhythm (15-29, no touchdowns, one interception), the offense let them down once again in the fourth quarter. First with a fumble by Felix Jones. Then it was the Giants making a huge stand on their 19, with less than two minutes to go. On 1st and 10, Romo completed a nine yard pass to Jason Witten. But then the Cowboys were stuck on 2nd, 3rd and eventually Romo threw an interception on 4th and 1, while the Cowboys were looking for a pass interference call on the previous play.
Once again, this defense stepped up. The Giants were trying to establish a running game for the entire second half through Ahmad Bradshaw, but he could only come up with 78 yards on 22 carries, averaging 3.5. The Cowboys had the ball for the final 44 seconds. Another great Romo drive, mostly through Jason Witten, and then a big throw into the endzone with 10 second left. Bryant rose high into the air and made an incredible catch, but the fingers, those two inches, doomed the Cowboys to yet another loss in their home stadium to their big rivals.
Numbers don’t always tell the story correctly. The Cowboys are third in the NFL in passing yards and opposition’s passing yards. They can stop the run (allowing 104.7 yards per game). When DeMarco Murray plays, they have a good running game. But when you turn the ball over six times in a game, it’s impossible to win. Tony Romo, this one was on him.