Sep 7, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) throws against the San Francisco 49ers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Two things went wrong here. The first is that you can not put your quarterback on a “pitch count” in the offseason. I’m all for protecting the cash cow, but coming off of back surgery he needs to get out there and get hit. He needs to practice at full speed and he needs to get a good number of preseason snaps. Probably even more than usual as he works to get back to game speed. Alas, that didn’t happen.
“I have to make plays to help this football team.” – Tony Romo
So what we saw was enough rust on Romo to make a can of WD40 smile with glee. He was a shell of his actual self. The second thing that went wrong was, well, Romo wasn’t even aware he was that shell. He thought he could just formulate the magic he’s become accustomed to creating because of who he is and, unfortunately, that was not to be. Heave after heave after heave led to turnover after turnover after turnover.
Wait, I forgot. There’s also a third variable that went wrong. Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. We abandoned the run in the red zone. Cowboys’ running back DeMarco Murray was gashing the 49ers through running lanes designed by the revamped offensive line that were wide enough to push a house through. Check and check. We were cooking.
Murray would recover nicely from the initial fumble (ouch) to produce an average of 5.4 yards per carry and having 100 yards early in the 3rd quarter. He’d finish with one touchdown, though. That’s because he’d get us to the red zone and then Linehan would (for some odd reason) get “cute” with the play-calling. I’m not impressed. Touchdowns impress me, not flashy plays.
Now you’re looking at abandoning a run that should’ve yielded (at minimum) three touchdowns and opting to put the game on the rebuilt back of our beloved quarterback who you had on a “pitch count” all offseason. Makes sense if you don’t stop to think about it. Catch the sarcasm, please. And catch it with your hands versus your stomach like wide receiver Terrance Williams would. Get it together, kid. Sheesh.