Another big lead, another fourth quarter mistake, another loss. It feels like Deja Vu for Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys, finding themselves in yet another fight for survival in order to avoid a fourth consecutive season of missing the playoffs. Despite yet another crunch time interception, Jerry Jones, the team’s owner and general manager, has Romo’s back.
This wasn’t just another famous mistake from Romo with the game on the line. The Cowboys lost a 23 points lead to a Green Bay Packers team that’s without Aaron Rodgers, yet managed to avoid collapsing and making the most of a terrible Cowboys defense and their offense that ends to shut down during the second half.
The play everyone keeps talking about is Romo changing a run play into a pass, seeing the Packers stacked the line. Maybe that was exactly what they wanted to happen. Romo was pressured into a bad pass, and threw right into the hands of Sam Shields, helping the Packers complete a remarkable comeback.
Jason Garrett later said that Romo shouldn’t have changed the play no matter what he saw, but many have come to question the play calls from Bill Callahan, who continued to throw the ball in the second half instead of giving DeMarcu Murry more than only 18 carries (in which he got 134 yards).
Jerry Jones is a very successful owner when it comes to making money, but as a general manager, the Cowboys haven’t seen great things and decisions from him. Regardless of Romo playing into the stigma of his awful December play, Jones thinks the kind of risk taking and initiative Romo showed is what the Cowboys need, and doesn’t feel like he let the team down.
When it basically has to unfold for him out there, the defense gets out of their structure, we get out of our structure on pass routes. All of a sudden, you’re into a little more sandlot-type football. In doing so, there’s more risk that’s involved. Make no mistake about it: With where we are with our personnel, we’re going to have to take risks.
I was for the aggressiveness we showed … and it can apply to many parts of the game. But in this particular case, aggressiveness was throwing the ball on our end of the field — throwing the ball in there close. Aggressiveness with Romo can mean not throw the ball but buy more time, which increases the chances of having a bad play.
With the loss, the Cowboys fall to 7-7, which means they’ll have to win both their games, including against the Eagles on the last week of the season. The Eagles, now the leaders of the NFC East, can afford to lose one game and still come to Dallas and win. The Cowboys don’t have that luxury, and if they lose their next game against Washington while the Eagles win, their season is all over.