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Callahan Takes Fall For Play Call On Romo’s First Interception

Posted Dec 19, 2013


IRVING, Texas – If Cowboys offensive coordinator Bill Callahan was hoping the fervor over the Cowboys’ collapse against Green Bay would have faded during the past week, he was mistaken.

Callahan faced a crush of questions about Sunday’s loss to the Packers – from the lack of rushing attempts to the play calls that led to two fourth quarter interceptions – in an arduous, 20-minute interview  session Thursday afternoon.

Most notably, the Cowboys’ play caller took responsibility for Tony Romo’s now-infamous decision to throw on a 2nd and 6 late in the game, resulting in the interception that led to Green Bay’s winning points.

“I put that on myself, just because it was built into the play. We can do better. I can do better, certainly,” Callahan said.

To clarify: Romo did not, as some have said, check to a different play upon seeing an unfavorable look by the Packers. The called play was a run to DeMarco Murray, but it had a built-on option for a pass if the quarterback deemed it necessary.

“The reason why it’s on is that it gets them out of issues, problems – things that can create a bad effect on the play,” Callahan said. “If the box is loaded on one side and you’re trying to run there and they have, numerically, too many people there – it’s just common sense. Do you want to hand the ball off in front of an unblocked defender and have him blow up your back and create a fumble?”

None of this is anything new for Romo, who was peppered with questions about the Packers, himself. He said that aspect of the offense isn’t a new development, and it isn’t a side effect of his increased role in the Cowboys’ game preparation.

No, I’ve had that option last year. That option isn’t -- I didn’t change the play,” he said. “That was just a part of your running scheme. We’ve had that for five years.”

And of course, none of that is to say Romo would make the same decision again. While Callahan did his part to alleviate the strain on his quarterback, Romo took plenty of responsibility for the turnover which ultimately put the Cowboys in a 37-36 hole.

“More than anything, I can‘t make that decision in that situation,” Romo said. “I have to eat the ball. I understand that. If you look back and get one throw all year, you want that back.”

Callahan called the game a “learning experience,” and said he thought the offense did the best it could, given the situation. That didn’t stop a bevy of questions about the lack of running plays in the second half, which Callahan said was a by-product of the back-and-forth nature of the second half.

“Those things happen. We love running the ball. I think our line is doing a great job. We’ve improved it over the last few weeks and DeMarco is running well. There are a lot of positives,” he said. “I look at our offense and I think, you know, for what happened Sunday, there are a lot of positives to build on and I explained that to the unit.”

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