Tony Romo should be the answer, not the question ⋆
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Tony Romo should be the answer, not the question

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Tony Romo should be the answer, not the question

Where to begin?

How about I lighten the mood first with a little shtick? I could put on the juvenile hat I often see donned on blogs abroad and hence forth refer to Tony Romo as Tony Thromo Interceptions.  What, no love?  Weak, you say?

I could suggest that Romo must have been wearing extra Under Armour apparel, considering how many under-thrown deep balls he threw. Get it?  Still the sound of crickets and a leaky faucet drip on the other side of the house.  Okay, I think I can do better, just not in the sense Romo apparently meant it last week.  {Zing}

I could tell a story about how one day I offered Tony the rest of my box of chocolates but when he saw 8 in the box he instinctively responded, “Pass.” I’m not going to lie, I’m really proud of that last one.

Or I could simply employ a fantasy-anecdotal device and relate that were I the Head Coach of the Cowboys I would hand Tony Romo the game ball in the locker room after the game, yank it back and tell him, “you owe me two!”

The three unacceptable and inexcusable interceptions aside, there should and could have been more. By my count, there were two more that hit defenders in the hands only to be dropped and one that Dwayne Harris was able to win the jump-ball situation to prevent a fourth catastrophe in the game.

But out of all of these issues Romo experienced Sunday, perhaps the most unforgivable, absurd, rookie-like oversight came within 2 yards of the end zone on a day where Murray was averaging over 6 yards per carry during that same possession.

The Scenario:  It was 2nd and 1, meaning 1 yard yields 4 more plays, 2 yards yields the tying touchdown.

Romo checks out of a run play to a pass because the defensive alignment suggested the 49ers were expecting the run. I repeat, Romo read the defense and expertly deciphered they were expecting the run 2 yards away from pay dirt.

Really? Really? REALLY?

I could have been escorted to under center blindfolded and read that the defense was expecting a run in that situation.

Of course the 49ers were expecting the run!

That may have something to do with the fact that Romo could have literally taken the snap and leaned forward with the ball to make that first-down and potentially a touchdown. That was absolutely not a time to get cute and he simply outsmarted himself; which is ironic, because given his decision-making throughout the day, I would have never guessed he was smart.

The result:  A sack, due to a miscommunication between Romo and Tyron Smith and, ultimately a Field Goal.

Please do not misunderstand; I know he is intelligent, so to the Romo apologist, please save your defense armed with some of the emptiest misleading stats in quarterback history. Romo still gives the Cowboys the best chance to win, but with all of the question marks that still plague this team, the Cowboys can ill-afford for him to join those ranks of questionable.

Furthermore, given that offensive line and the caliber of weapons he is surrounded with, it is critical that he starts playing to live for another play as opposed to trying to win with every snap. The onus is no longer squarely on his shoulders to win games, but that defense is not good enough to weather his mistakes.

Romo is not the only one on my chopping block.  But with all of the negative press that has already been – and will be – hammered out, now would be a good time to hand out a few honorable mentions, despite the dishonorable results.

Rolando McClain – Given the relatively cheap price of a conditional 6th round pick, the Cowboys may have struck figurative gold with Rolando. He may not be Sean Lee, but I think most would agree he was far better than the alternatives and played like he truly wants to be here on Sunday – not for just this season, but also for the foreseeable future. He is the type of player that can infect and affect the play of his teammates. The question is where does he go when Sean Lee comes back?

Cole Beasley – He was not the star of any Fantasy League, in terms of stats, but he is proving to be the Jason Witten of slot receivers. Without the benefit of blazing speeds or ideal size, he gets open with crisp, on point routes and catches almost everything that touches his hands, even when Romo is not accurate with ball placement.

DeMarco Murray – Once the 49ers put up 28 points on the scoreboard, coach Harbaugh took his feet off the offensive gas pedal and dropped the defensive coverage back, allowing for much of Murray’s running room. Having said that, he ran with vision and authority, being the predominant reason the Cowboys were able to keep several drives alive. I am not a proponent of his consistently looking for contact to close his runs to darkness, but in games where the Cowboys hold a lead, that grinding style will come in handy.

Bruce Carter – Given the level of criticism and scrutiny this young man suffered through this off-season – with questions about his love of the game to his intellectual ability to grasp the game – Bruce Carter also played with both passion and instinct Sunday. He was all over the field, suggesting that once again a position group –linebackers – that was perceived to be a weakness when the season opened may actually prove to be a strength as the season progresses.

This game was hard to watch, but I trudged through it dedicated to dissecting both the good and the bad from my limited view through the television screen.

Stepping away from the sting of the loss, what particularly bothered me was the incomplete grade we were collectively able to ascertain from this game. The 49ers were to be the measuring stick that gave fans a true idea of the Cowboys identity. Instead, one player (Romo) failed miserably, placing the rest of the players in a situation that they could not overcome.

Would this game have ended any differently minus the horrible decision-making of Romo? Hopefully Romo gives the team a better chance to answer that question, one way or another, next Sunday.

I am 35, married and a father of 2 boys. I have been a Cowboys fan since Jimmy Johnson took over; not because I had anything against Tom Landry, but because it just so happens I was old enough to start following and understanding football right as that new era began. Since then, I haven't missed games if I could help it.

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