The Cowboys had everything going their way last night. They were up 14 points in the 4th quarter and seemed in control of the game. And then everything went wrong. It almost seems as though this team has forgotten how to win games in clutch moments. It was going to take a total collapse by the Cowboys to let the Jets back into the game and that is exactly what happened.
Now I'm not going to blame the entire game on Tony Romo. But it is awfully difficult not to. The blocked punt was as much to blame for the 4th quarter melt down as anything else. But the goal line fumble with the Cowboys poised to go up by 14 or at least 10 points halfway through the 4th quarter was disastrous. And the late interception thrown by Romo was possibly the worst play of his career. When he threw that ball I yelled out "What the f*!% was that?" And I'm still saying the same thing to myself today.
Not only was the pass bad but I sincerely wonder what in the world Dez Bryant was doing on that play. He didn't fire off the ball, didn't really run any sort of defined route, and didn't make much of an effort to tackle Revis after he picked off the ball. If Dez was hurt that badly either he should have taken himself out of the game or the coaches should have. I honestly put half the fault on Dez for the interception and half on Romo. Romo clearly forced the ball against the wrong coverage. But it sure seemed like he expected Dez to come back for that throw. Both guys should be ashamed of that play.
In the end I have to remind myself it was only one game. But it would have been such a huge win. And it is becoming so common that Romo pulls something like this in big moments of big games that I am starting to just expect it to happen. I love Romo. I think he is talented and a great team player. But enough is enough with these boneheaded plays. At some point it has to sink in to him that he has to play smart. The fumble in the red zone was inexcusable. You have to throw that one away and take the field goal. That is football 101.
You have to give the defense a lot of credit. The Jets never really got a good running game going. And their passing wasn't much to talk about until both Scandrick and Jenkins were off the field in the 4th quarter. They made play after play to keep the Cowboys in the game. But the offense and special teams failed them when they put up a winning effort. Rob Ryan deserves a lot of credit for getting so much out of his undermanned defense. And Sean Lee had another game similar to last season against the Colts that hints that he could be something special. Let's hope there is more where that came from.
I know Jason Garrett is saying all the right things about the team playing hard and showing a lot of heart. But I hope he is laying into Tony Romo behind closed doors about some of the decisions that he made late in the game. At some point the light has to come on for Romo or we are going to have to expect the same late game antics for 4-5 more years. For some reason he has to be reminded of the consequences of playing recklessly about once a season. At least it happened in week 1 so hopefully it will be the last time this season.
The season isn't over. It just feels like it is. There are 15 games to go. The Cowboys are going to have to win a game somewhere in the schedule that they were expected to lose to make up for letting this one slip away. I can only hope that this game serves as a lesson to the team in how to handle big moments in big games. And as much as some people hate to hear it, this team will only go as far as Tony Romo takes them. I sure hope this was the game that finally convinced him to play smarter.