Romo Horse-Collared Miles Austin on Notice and NBC Sunday Night Football


Sunday October 6, 2013 will be one of those games many will never forget.  The Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys met up in a high-octane touchdown track meet to combine for 99 total points, which is the fourth highest scoring game in NFL history.  Those who watched also saw Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo throw for the club’s highest yards (506) with five touchdowns setting a new club record edging out “Dandy” Don Meredith’s previous single game record.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning scored the most touchdowns through five games (20) in league history.  The Broncos also set a new league record with the most points scored by a team (230) through the first five games.  It was a high scoring, record setting late afternoon game for these two clubs.  Two topics stood out as notable for me including the seemingly missed horse-collar penalty against Romo in the fourth quarter, and the emergence of Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver Terrance Williams.

In the final minutes of the game during the fourth quarter, the score was tied 48 to 48 and the Cowboys had the ball.  The Cowboys started the drive from deep in their zone.  Tony Romo was under pressure and scrambled to his right where the Broncos defender seemed to use a two handed illegal horse-collar tackle to drag Romo down for the sack.  This put the Cowboys in a tough spot with a long first down and the loss of a down.

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Upon initial review I was certain that this was an illegal tackle and thought the referees missed the call.  However, when I researched further, it turns out that a horse-collar tackle on the quarterback inside the pocket is not illegal.  One could argue that Romo was outside of the pocket, but from my perspective he was still inside the hash marks.  It is sort of mind blowing that in this day and age of protecting the quarterback, arguably one of the most dangerous tackling techniques in the league is still legal against the quarterback…who knew.

Cowboys rookie wide receiver Terrance Williams was a real threat in this game with 4 catches for 151 yards and one touchdown.  While he did have a few rookie mistakes, most notably at the end of the second quarter when he made a great catch but failed to run out of bounds stopping the clock.  However, the rookie was a force throughout the game, and what I realized towards the end of the game is that I did not miss Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin.

My expectations were that there would be a drop off in receiving production, but the former Baylor University Bear negated that loss with his solid play early on.  Miles Austin, after this game, might be concerned as fans got a glimpse of what a Dez Bryan and Terrance Williams duo can produce.

In a fun surprise for your humble columnist, I was honored to be chosen as the NBC Sunday Night Football Week 6 Fan of the Week.  Through the experience I will receive exclusive access to the SNF bus, appear at preselected activities in and around Dallas, post daily content about the NFL and the SNF match-up on social networking sites such as Twitter which will be streamed by NBC, interact with other NFL fans to generate excitement for the SNF game, take part in a “Follow SNF tailgate” on Sunday at AT&T Stadium, and finally I will get to attend the Dallas Cowboys versus Washington Redskins game on Sunday October 13, 2013.  This is the ultimate NFL experience and I am very thankful to the folks at NBC for the opportunity.  You can join me on the journey by following on Twitter @MattsCowboys or online via this link

Follow Matt Thornton on Twitter @MattsCowboys