Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
3. Tony Romo – Tony had been hit most of the day and was absolutely rocked a couple of times by Nick Fairley early in the game. That created a lot of “happy feet” moments for Romo in this game. He seemed off most of the day when he wasn’t throwing it out of bounds or curling up into the fetal position before being hit. Even his first touchdown throw to Dez was not on target and took a great effort from his receiver to convert it to six points. In all, he completed less than 50% of his passes and despite 2 long touchdown plays, only amassed 206 yards passing. Not Tony’s best day.
Perhaps you can blame the game plan for a lot of that, but one play in particular makes me think Romo may in fact be a big part of the problem. With 3:27 left in the game nursing a 27-24 lead and in dire need of running time off the clock, Romo had a 1st and 10 at his own 19-yard line. He clearly checks out of the running play and into a pass that went incomplete stopping the clock. He was bailed out by the defensive holding penalty which would have stopped the clock anyway. But, had he stayed in the run, it would have avoided the penalty and the clock stoppage. It could have either burned another 45 seconds off the clock or forced Detroit to use a time out there instead of waiting for two plays later. Then on that same possession facing a 3rd and 12 at their own 23, the Cowboys throw the ball again. Not clear if that was the called play or something Romo checked into, but it was not a smart play. The 3rd down play was incomplete stopping the clock at 2:38 and allowing Detroit to save a time out. A run on any of those plays might have been enough to leave the Lions with too little time to pull off the miracle.