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Interception in Critical Moment Costs Romo, Cowboys Postseason
LANDOVER, Md. - Despite having already thrown two interceptions, missing his two best receivers and trailing by 11 points with seven minutes left in the game, Tony Romo still had a chance to lead his team down the field and give the Cowboys the lead when the offense took over with 3:33 left in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for Romo, he couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity. Instead of rallying the offense as he had in his numerous comeback attempts this season, Romo threw his third interception of the game.
Romo started the late fourth quarter drive by converting a 14-yard first down pass to Jason Witten. He dropped back on the next play and was quickly pressured, forced to look off his initial read. He quickly went to his left and tried to throw the ball to DeMarco Murray in the flat.
What Romo didn’t see was Rob Jackson playing Murray’s route perfectly and waiting for the quarterback to throw his direction. Just like that, the Cowboys comeback hopes fizzled away as the ball ended up in Jackson’s hands.
After the game, the Cowboys relived the play that, fair or unfair, will define Romo and the Cowboys’ season to most critics.
“Tony tried to lay the ball over Rob Jackson’s head and he made a play on the ball,” Garrett said.
Romo broke down what was happening and what led him to making the mistake that he won’t forget for a long time.
“I think they sent a rusher inside that was going to break our protection,” Romo said. “I thought the safe throw was to throw it to DeMarco under the swing, right to the sideline, and the guy made a play, peeling off as a defensive end, and I wish I had made a better decision at that time. It was disappointing.”
While Murray may not have necessarily been open, he knew that he was supposed to serve as a bailout option for Romo in that particular play.
“He was under pressure,” Murray said. “He tried to get rid of it. A man was right in his face.”
While the final turnover will be the one most remember, it was just one of three interceptions by Romo in the game. The first two came in the first half when Romo failed to connect with Kevin Ogletree and Miles Austin, respectively.
“You never want that to take place, especially with the way you have been playing,” Romo said. “Give them credit because they made the plays when it mattered and we didn’t. It was disappointing because we had been playing better.”
Romo has completely huge plays down the stretch for the Cowboys and his ability to move the team down the field has kept them in games all season, but in the biggest moment of the year, he made one big mistake.
He didn’t want to delve too deep into how his legacy will be perceived going forward, because his career isn’t over yet.
“Your legacy will be written when you are done playing the game,” Romo said. “When it is over with, then you can talk about those things. It is difficult to get over the hump but I know that football is the ultimate team sport. I have to continue to improve and so does our football team.”