Dallas Cowboys fans thought the demons had been exorcised from Tony Romo’s body after their back-to-back victories. Unfortunately, they were just taking a vacation in Minneapolis, awaiting Romo upon his visit to the Metrodome. Romo was downright awful once again, as the Minnesota Vikings blew the Dallas Cowboys off the field 34-3, bringing an end to their season.
Many will continue to make excuses for Romo, but at some point reality needs to be faced. Yes, he was under constant pressure. Yes, his offensive line was like swiss cheese. And yes, he did get sacked 6 times yesterday.
But great quarterbacks can make a adjustments. They can do a three-step drop backs and release quicker. They can move into shotgun formation. They can do a better job reading the blitz at the line and call a hot route. Lots of options here.
Romo didn’t adjust. He got sacked constantly while holding onto the ball too long because he was scared of throwing interceptions. He fumbled the ball three times, losing two of them. He threw an interception deep in his own end. These are all on him.
What happened out there is that Romo’s anxiety once again got the best of him. The Cowboys offense was moving the ball and not registering points on the scoreboard. On the first three drives, they racked up 134 yards on 29 plays and all they had to show was three points for their effort.
Romo then plunged downward, losing confidence in himself. Then his teammates lost confidence in him.
Defend him all day, it doesn’t resolve the problem that Romo was more worried about making a mistake than making a big play. Romo hesitated to throw downfield the entire game. He resorted to dink and dunk passes that were more likely to not end up as interceptions. He was playing to not make the loss not look like his fault.
This was personified by his 5.6 yards per attempt during the game. That number, when compared to NFL regular season stats rates 30th out of 32 starting quarterbacks, just ahead of JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn. That’s how bad he played.
Its time for the Cowboys to be contemplating the future at quarterback. You can’t really pin the loss on Wade Phillips this time. Phillips did perhaps his best coaching of his career this season. The moved the ball very well early and the game plan looked great. Romo just folded like an accordion once again.
The Cowboys should be looking at drafting a quarterback that can learn the position under Jason Garrett and replace Romo once his contract expires. Jimmy Clausen just might be around come the Cowboys pick in the NFL Draft.