ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys' first interception wasn't supposed to be a pass play.
Both head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo said the Cowboys' first pick of the day against the Packers with a five-point lead and 2:58 remaining in the game was initially a run play that Romo checked out of.
"It's a run call that we have," Romo said. "We'll have three to five or six times a game where you'll throw the ball because you have a bad look into the run. That specific time, obviously when I look back now, we should have run the ball because you threw an interception. You shouldn't ever give them a chance with the ball. We have to get better. I have to do better than that."
Romo explained that the Packers overloaded the side of the line the Cowboys were going to run to, so he opted to throw to Miles Austin in one-on-one coverage. He said the Cowboys didn't run much against stacked boxes, where he felt that any team wouldn't have success on the ground.
"The defensive end did a really good job coming in instead of following the tackle down, which usually ends up happening," Romo said. "It was my fault for obviously putting the ball in a position where the defense could make a play."
That was the first interception of the day for Romo, who finished 29-of-48 for 358 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, both of which came in the final three minutes of regulation. They were also the first two picks Romo's thrown since Week 12 against the Giants.
That first interception occurred on a second-and-6 at the Cowboys 35-yard line. DeMarco Murray, who averaged 7.4 yards per carry, had run for four yards on the first play of that set of downs.
"It's easy to look back now and say, 'Run the ball, run the ball, run the ball,'" Romo said. "At the same time, if they're going to have numbers, it's a tough situation. What I have to do a better job of is protecting the ball in that situation, and I didn't do a good enough job of that tonight. I will next time."
Garrett, who made clear that Bill Callahan is the play-caller, said Romo has options in the "challenging and difficult situations" in the ballgame and that Romo would be the first one to say he should have run the ball in that situation. [embedded_ad]
"The idea was to run the ball and make them use clock," Garrett said. "Run it, and then if we have to throw it, throw high percentage passes to keep the clock going and make them use their timeouts. Tony threw a pass on what we call a smoke or a flash, that we have accompanying runs for if he gets a bad look. That's what happened on the interception, it was a run call that he threw the ball on."
The Cowboys tried to test the Packers deep in single coverage throughout the second half, as the Packers played their safeties down and kept extra guys in the box, forcing the Cowboys to throw as often as possible as Green Bay played from behind.
"At different times in the second half we probably could have run the ball more," Garrett said. "We were having some success throwing it. We did have a couple drives where we went incomplete and incomplete and weren't able to convert it on third down, which certainly hurt us."