Monday, 16 December 2013


 what surely will be remembered as the most preposterous regular-season choke in franchise history, the most volatile quarterback in recent NFL history threw two fourth-quarter interceptions to complete a 23-point meltdown in the second half that might define him over all the other meltdowns that already define him.
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DeMarco Murray carried the ball 11 times in the first half and seven in the final two quarters. (AP)
Leave aside how the Cowboys went into halftime Sunday against the Green Bay Packers with a 26-3 lead. Leave aside how a win over said Packers, led by wayward backup Matt Flynn, would have pulled the Cowboys even with Philadelphia in the win column and, with a victory in hand over the Eagles, atop the NFC East. Leave aside how the Dallas defense allowed touchdowns on every single second-half possession (except for when the Packers went into the victory formation).
Romo could have easily put this game away by simply using his penultimate drive to turn around and hand off to running back DeMarco Murray. The Cowboys were ahead, 36-31, and Murray was gashing the Pack to the tune of more than 7 yards per carry. Instead, the Cowboys threw on not one, not two, but three straight downs. They moved the chains, used the next first down to hand off to Murray, and then Romo threw again. The result was almost as predictable as it was unimaginable: a Sam Shields interception that led to the game-losing touchdown.
Romo admitted he changed the play, a designed run for Murray.
Coach Jason Garrett didn't shield his quarterback in explaining the ill-fated pass to reporters.
"The idea was to run the ball and make them use clock," Garrett said. "Run it. If we throw, throw high percentage passes to keep the clock going and make them use their timeouts. Tony threw a pass on what we call a smoke, or a flash – something we have accompanying some runs if he gets a bad look – and that's what happened on the interception. It was a run call though that he threw the ball on."
"Inexplicable," blurted Fox's Joe Buck, and he was both right and wrong. It's inexplicable to throw when falling down would have worked better.
But it's not inexplicable.
It's Tony Romo.
The man has a flair for the inexplicable. And whether he changed that fateful play from a run to a throw is almost beside the point. He chucked the ball when he shouldn't have. He made the defining mistake that may cost the Cowboys yet another season.


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