By now Cowboy fans should have learned to expect Romo to do what Romo does in December, but like Charlie Brown approaching the football that Lucy is holding, this time it will be different they think. But it’s not different. The ball gets pulled away once again as soon as Charlie Brown tries to kick like Romo throwing a late game pick in December.
Coach Jason Garrett, the absolute master of making an understatement, described the loss as “disappointing”. If Garrett had been in Dallas on that fateful November day 50 years ago when President John Kennedy was tragically assassinated, he would have described it as “disappointing”. Sometimes “disappointing” just doesn’t cover it Jason.
Coming into this game, Dallas knew their defense was awful and due to injuries to Lee and Carter, they were playing guys deep down the depth chart but for me, it’s no excuse for this loss. Afterall, the Packers offense was without their star QB Rodgers.
This blown lead of historic proportions, falls on game management or lack of it. The defense had a good first half so what went wrong in the 2nd half? Listening to Jason’s post game comments offers reasons why they let this one get away.
Jason called out Romo for changing the play from a run call to a pass on the last interception. And once again, we saw Romo and a WR not on the same page as Beasley read it one way and Romo another. All of this should look and sound familiar if you have been watching the Cowboys the last few years.
Defense: There is a correct way to play with a lead and it’s important in any sport to be aware of the circumstances. But Dallas seems to play the same no matter what the circumstances are. Jason pointed out the Packers ran the ball better in the 2nd half so the defense adjusted by putting more guys in the box. Big mistake because that made an already suspect secondary more vulnerable. With a big lead, you want the Packers running the ball and chewing up clock. Better that than having those young safeties exposed by a mediocre back up QB like Flynn. Time was on their side so playing the pass and inviting them to try to run it, was the right approach.
Offense: Many times this season I have pointed out that Dallas just abandons the run for some strange reason even when it is being successful. It defies any logic but Jason still tried to defend it. Jason said that the Packers were putting more defenders “in the box” so Romo was going to the pass to avoid running the ball. But that’s exactly what the Packers wanted Dallas to do. That’s why they showed them more guys in the box. By running it, Dallas would have chewed up too much clock for a Packers come back.
Murray was having plenty of success running the ball and just because the Packers had 8 or 9 in the box doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. I’ve seen runs broken off for long TDs against short yardage defenses with 11 defenders on the line. Running the ball was the prudent thing to do but instead we saw Romo passing. It left Cowboys analyst Bryan Broaddus to describe the play calling as “curious”. He is too kind. I would use other words to describe it.
Once again, Garrett has proven himself to be an incompetent game manager while Romo has proven to be a pass happy, gun slinger that just can’t be content to hand the ball off when it’s the right thing to do.
We have been told that Offensive Coordinator Callahan calls the plays, then Jason sends it to Romo but Romo can change the play at the line. Problem is Romo has never seen a defense that needs to be run against.
After the last INT, Dez bounced for the locker room before the game ended and a lot will be made of it in the next few days by the media as if it had anything to do with the loss. While I don’t think it was a good thing for Dez to do, I totally get his frustration with Romo. I think most fans were headed for the exits at that point too. Like a predictable movie viewed countless times, we know how this December thing plays out for the Romo led Cowboys.
Some “glass half full” types will point out that Dallas can still win the pitiful NFC East in the next couple weeks but don’t fall for it Charlie Brown. Lucy is not going to let you kick it THIS time and Romo is not going to get it right next time either.