Last night, after 17 minutes of game time, that's just over one full quarter of play, the Dallas Cowboys had put themselves in a big deep hole. An abyss. It was once again their ability to locate and press the self destruct button, that had put them there.
23-0 down, to the team that always come up big in Cowboys Stadium. Last year in the same fixture the New York Giants, stole a victory from under the Cowboys noses. Seemingly in control, 12 points up with around 4 minutes left, Dallas let the game slip away.The Giants went 3-0 in Jerry's World.
So after Tony Romo threw his 3rd interception which was run back 28 yards by premiere Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul for a touchdown, the Merchants of all Doomsville were out in full force. The booing started, more so when Head Coach Jason Garrett, or Owner Jerry Jones appeared on the gigantic no-place-to-hide jumbotrons. Post game Romo said that at that point he would of booed the team too.
It couldn't get any lower. and something somehow changed, the Dallas offense, which had been bailed out again by its stellar defense which limited the Giants to just one touchdown off the early errors (there was a Dez Bryant punt return fumble in there as well), suddenly started to click. The deficit was reduced by 10 by halftime, then after getting the ball first in the second half the momentum and balance was back in the Cowboys favour as they scored 2 TDs in quick succession, to lead 24-23.
Romo, due to a poor rushing display was forced to pass the ball 62 times. The 60th being the one that stopped all the clocks. trailing again by 5, the now hot hand of the triggerman found Bryant with a deep 37 yard pass, with 10 seconds left, which the receiver twisted and turned to catch, land in the end zone, only for the score to be overruled by replay because of Bryant's fingertips hit the white backline first. proving this really is a game of inches.
After recovering from the tumultuous start Tony Romo once again showed immense character in bringing his team back from the brink of disaster. The questions raised again though are that of how many times can Dallas let this happen? Can we afford to keep having these mental errors that lead us into desperate situations?
Turnovers and penalties have been killing the Cowboys all season. Romo will always be the target of the medias interest when things go wrong, and it always seems to go more wrong than right. It's a puzzle that no one can fix. If you take away his strengths of keeping the play alive, stretching the field with decent changes at the line of scrimmage, his playground attitude to the game, the things that make him good. Then you rid the game of an exciting quarterback. The flip side of these attributes are also the concerns of course, his forced passes, the fumbles when trying to make something happen when it's not there.
A conundrum that will rumble on over the next few weeks for sure, after all having agreed not to talk contracts until after this season, he could be playing not just for his teams playoff season but his future as a Cowboy.
For now though...you never know what you're going to get.