Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

As the Cowboys took a 24-10 lead on the NY Jets at the start of the fourth quarter last night all seemed good in the world. After that the world came crashing down as the Cowboys were outscored 17-0 by the Jets and lost 27-24. I understand it’s the first game of the season and I understand that sometimes things like this happen. But Tony Romo has made a habit of making bad decisions at important times during games.

We can start with Romo’s decision to dive short of the goal line on 3rd down when the Cowboys were ahead 24-17 and about nine minutes left in the game. Romo fumbled and the Cowboys came away with no points. I understand he wanted a touchdown on that play, but better decisions need to be made. If nothing was there for him then simply throw it out of the end zone. Then attempt a short field goal, which if made would have put them up by ten points, 27-17.  As the quarterback smart decisions need to be made in that situation. Sure as a fan and a writer I can sit here and say what I thought he should have done, but it has been too often in his career that Romo has made bad decisions that have put his team in bad situations. 

Lets move to when the score was tied 24-24. The Cowboys were sitting at their own 41 yard line with 59 seconds left to play. Plenty of time to position themselves for a game winning field goal attempt. On first down Romo rolls to his right and throws a pass right at Darrelle Revis who easily intercepts the pass in front of Dez Bryant. That of course led to Nick Folk kicking the game winning field goal for the Jets. What would make Romo decide to throw that pass? He must have seen Revis standing there. It wasn’t like Revis made a great play or stepped in front of Bryant. It’s just another example of a bad decision that has plagued Romo for just about his whole career.

I will also add this while I’m at it. Regarding the touchdown pass from Romo to Miles Austin. Let’s be honest! It was a pass that went directly to Antonio Cromartie. If it wasn’t for Austin ripping the ball away from Cromartie it would have been an interception for a touchback.

Tony Romo has had many good games since becoming the Cowboys starting quarterback in 2006, but far too often he has shown that he is careless with the football at crucial times and ends up hurting the team. I’m not going to write that he doesn’t care about winning because I’m sure he does. He’s not out there working hard every day because he has nothing better to do. He is out there because he loves the game and wants to win. He needs to be smarter and make better decisions at important times during games. 

Elite quarterbacks make good decisions that put their teams in a position to win games. They are not careless with the football. Maybe Romo is all he can be at quarterback. Maybe he is at the highest level he can achieve. But how long should the Cowboys stay patient and wait to see if there another level of play?  Does Tony Romo have a championship level like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Ben Roethlisberger? As a fan it’s beyond frustrating and it’s at a point where you are not waiting to see if Romo makes a bad decision, but wondering when Romo will make a bad decision that will hurt his team again.

Comments
  1. Tom

    The issue with Romo is not his ability. People seem to forget that while he went undrafted, teams wanted him to shape and mold. His best teaching period was under Parcells, then not so much. Red needs to balance his go-get-em attitude with some parameters. He needs to help him recognize that he can’t make every throw.

    The Austin connection was a jump ball. Cromartie cut off that route and Austin just took it from him, that’s true, but that kind of throw wasn’t a bad one, it was one that you have to trust your receiver that he could make that play. The Revis pickle was just a bad decision where he thought he could fit it in a tight spot. He didn’t anticipate that he would turn around as fast as he did. The fumble in my view was a play where he simply didn’t protect the ball. He was going to the ground because he knew the play was over.

    He took the blame. That’s what a leader does. But he can’t shoulder all of the blame because he can’t make the line block while he was running to buy time. He can’t make a newly minted NFL center wait until he’s ready to call for the snap before he fires it back there and he can’t make special teams zone block the free guy coming untouched. But he took it.

    Is he elite? Potentially. But he’s very, very good. 342 yards and 2 TDs is nothing to sneeze at. It’s just the one or two plays Cowboys fans look at that make you shudder. People want to ignore the good he does when he makes a bad play. That’s the price an NFL QB pays, especially one that plays for the Dallas Cowboys. Rothlisberger threw 3 picks on Sunday. McNabb threw for 39 yards. THIRTY NINE! Not everyone can be Brady and get out 500+ yards in an unreal clinic is threw out there. But given the circumstances, he’s the best we have and he’s not bad.

    He needs coaching up. Not the drastic move of benching or cutting, because who we have can’t get it done. We all know that. We’re not drafting anyone unless he absolutely collapses. But not lost in me is that he can’t do it alone. As the line gets better, his play will improve. He’ll be less brazen with the ball. But as an NFL QB, those plays happen, they just need to accompany wins. While he was partly responsible, he didn’t lose the game alone. That was one of his best performances, and we’ve seen many of them.

    I see plenty to be encouraged about. We didn’t lose by 2 touches that the media was making it out to be. We had the Jets down early and fighting the entire game. Rex and his crew won’t ever admit it, but they have to be breathing a big sigh of relief. And in doing so, the rest of the NFC East has been put on notice, we’re not going to be a doormat to anyone and the division is a little more competitive than people think in regards to the Cowboys. It’s going to be a good year. I can feel it.

    • Rob V.

      I understand many of your points, but at this point in his career he should not be making the same mistakes he made back in ’07 and ’08. Remember the Pittsburgh game in ’08 when the Cowboys dominated them for about 58 minutes and then Romo made the huge mistakes that led to Pittsburgh coming back to win. What I mean is that these bad decisions have followed Romo since he became a starter and they always happen at the worst moments. He says he needs to learn and get better every year, but does he?

      Yes, he is the best the Cowboys have. No doubt about it. But my point in the article was that maybe Romo is everything that he can be as a QB that he is right now. Maybe there is no other level for him. It’s not a bad thing. Maybe its just the way it is for him. There have been many players that just could not make it to the next level.

      Maybe I’m wrong about Romo. I hope that I am. But watching him from the time he became a starter to this last game, I really can’t say that I see much of a difference in his play.

      • Tom

        He says he needs to get better, but he does, and then he doesn’t. I would expect criticism from Boys fans like us. But these are also the same fans that booed Troy Aikman off the field before he retired. What I don’t appreciate is National attention because he’s the QB our our team. No one wants to talk about any other QB who literally STUNK on Sunday. Fine, that comes with the territory, especially here in DC where the Rex Grossman bandwagon is filling up, when we all knows he literally sucks bad.

        Is Romo he best he can be? Maybe. If he is, then the other pieces around him need to be better. O-Line, backs who can’t get to the century mark and WRs that get tired in the second quarter or who don’t finish their route and look for someone to blame. But I look at him and have seen improvement from year to year, but it’s not leaps and bounds. I’ve seen him throw pick after pick, then I’ve seen him pick apart defenses. It is what it is. But honestly, the story is yet to be finished on him. When a QB can give you good with the bad, it called the NFL. It happens, but I know, I wish it wouldn’t happen to us like it did! :)

  2. Koby

    We need some Luck, Like Andrew Luck. I’m tired of Romo alresdy.

    • Tom

      Which means we have to go 2-14. No thanks.

  3. Kelly H

    I don’t know why I’m not angry at Tony Romo. I guess I should be. Although when people try to talk to me about the game I pretty much brush them off and say I don’t want to talk about it. He made mistakes thats for sure, and he certainly shouldn’t have grinned about missing an important snap like that. So I guess I am irritated. But there were some great moments in the game that made us all proud. Just wish those moments would have come at the end of the game.

  4. Rob V.

    That’s just it with Romo. He has some really great moments, but when he bad moments it’s always at the worst time. Maybe he tries to do too much. Would I love to have Andrew Luck? Of course I would. I don’t think anyone who say they wouldn’t. Even if he didn’t start for a year or two would be fine. But that is too far in the future to worry about it. What is next is the 49ers. One game at a time I guess.