Don't Blame Romo for the Loss to Detroit

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I watched the game.  I saw the 2 INT returns for TD’s.  I saw the 3rd pick.  So, I know that Romo is partially to blame.  But, crimes like blowing a 24 point lead are rarely committed by one perpetrator.  I am not talking about the defense.  Romo was aided and abetted by someone else in this crime.

Is he allergic to calling running plays?

Jason Garret is as much, or more, culpable than Romo.  Garrett never should have allowed Romo to be in a position to throw 3 picks.

You don’t need to be a math genius, or even go to Princeton, to figure out the time it requires to come back from a 24 point deficit with only 26 minutes remaining in the game.   Consider this:  if you run the ball three times for no gain, and then punt, that should eat up 3 minutes of the clock.  If Detroit needs 4 scores to catch you, that means you will have a minimum of 4 possessions.  If you run 3 times on all 4 possessions and fail to complete even one first down, that is 12 minutes gone from the clock.  That would leave Detroit with 14 minutes to score 4 times.  Even if you play a fairly poor prevent defense, it should be very difficult, nearly impossible, to score that many times in that little time.  At some point, you need to run the #@$%! ball, even if you can’t get a 1st down.

Click on the link to read the case against Garrett.

The evidence against Garrett:

1. It was 1st and 10 near the Cowboys 25, with 10:25 left in the 3rd quarter.  The defense was playing extremely well, allowing just one field goal in 35 minutes of play.  Why try to pass on 1st down?  Why not start running to ball to eat up the clock?  Even if you have to punt, the defense has been great and you have a huge lead.

Say all you want about the “death-blow” and “putting the final nail in the coffin”, but nothing will ever convince me that it was wise to call on a pass in this situation.

He threw the interceptions, but Garrett made the calls.

Some may argue that Garret called a run, and Romo changed the play at the line.  I suppose that is possible.  But, even if that is true, Garrett should have explained to Romo that they did not need to score more points, and that all they had to do was control the clock.  The onus was on Garrett to demand that Romo did not try anything so unnecessary and foolish again.

2. The second pick happened with 5:48 left in the 3rd quarter.  The Cowboys had been running the ball fairly effectively.  Choice carried on 1st, then again on 2nd down for a 1st down.  Murray picked up 4 yards on a 1st down, then 7 yards on another carry.

It was 3rd and 2 near mid-field.  Why not run?  Even if the run is unsuccessful, you have McBriar who should be able to pin them inside the 20 from that range.  Yet, Garrett calls (or neglected to forbid) another pass.  Remember, they were still up by 17 points at this point the game, the defense was playing well, and the Lions had shown nothing to suggest that they could score TD’s if they had to go 80 or 90 yards.

3. Even after the 2nd pick, Garrett continued to call passes on 1st down.  I know it is hard to run against 8 or 9 men in the box, but there comes a time when you just need to find a risk-free way to chew up the clock.  Calling passes on 1st down accomplishes neither objective.

4. The last pick, although nausea inspiring, was not as shockingly bad a call as the first 2.  There was about 4 and a half minutes left in the game.  They were still up by 3 points, and it was 1st and 10 on the 20.  Why not run the ball at least a few times to run out the clock?

Click on the link to read the rest of the evidence against Garrett.

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