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Upon Further Review: Romo Not At Best But Didn't Get Much Help

Some observations from the film room at Valley Ranch after Monday's loss to the Bears: 

  • Much was made of the problems that this Cowboys offensive line was going to have with this Bears defensive line. During the week I was not trying to hype up the match ups but report what I had observed on film. The Bears do an outstanding job of putting pressure on the quarterback with just four men and as bad as we all want to complain about how the offensive line played last night and yes there were problems in the running game, it wasn't the pressure from the Bears that really caused the Cowboys problems. Henry Melton had a sack off a twist stunt and pressure which led to points for the defense and Shea McClellin used a spin move on Doug Free that gave up a pressure as well. But for the large part that was really it. If I would have told you the Cowboys were going to throw the ball 43 times and only give up one sack in the game, you would have not believed it. There is no doubt that Romo's ability to move helps this offensive line but you didn't see on tape the problems that the Cowboys had last week against the Buccaneers. For the majority of the game, Romo was allowed to make throws and even check down throws after reading routes down field. Julius Peppers was not a factor in this game at all and a lot of that credit goes to Tyron Smith and the job that he did against Peppers down after down.
  • Was asked plenty after the game on Monday night what I thought happened on the first Romo interception. I always hate to place the blame on the quarterback and receiver until I get to study the game the next day so here is what I saw. With the ball 3rd and 9 on the Cowboys 21 Garrett decides to go "11" personnel with Bryant wide left, Jones lined up next to Romo in the gun left. Witten is flexed right, with Austin in the slot and Ogletree wide right. The Bears on defense match with their nickel personnel and show a two deep safety look but on the pre snap look, safety Chris Conte comes down from the right hash lining up in the box on the outside with Major Wright rotating to the middle of the field. 
  • Romo points to Bryant the movement of the Bears safeties. Cornerback Charles Tillman initially is lined up two yards from Bryant and square in his stance like he is playing press coverage. As Romo is getting the shot gun snap, Tillman bails off Bryant turning inside and begins to retreat. Bryant drives on Tillman's cushion. In the pocket, Romo is feeling the blitz from the outside of Conte but also inside where there is a flash of color from Lance Briggs but Felix Jones is there. Romo throws the ball as Bryant is six yards into his route but appears like he is trying to run a shutter go on Tillman who allows Bryant to run by him because he has seen that Romo has let the ball fly. Tillman simply breaks on the ball for the easy interception and the first touchdown of the game. Give Charles Tillman a lot of credit for the way he was able to disguise the coverage which led to the interception. 
  • This Bears defense was only going to give you so many shots to make plays and when you don't take advantage of those opportunities, then you are going to struggle on offense. The tape showed that the Cowboys could move the ball through the air the majority of the game but untimely drops and over throws of open receivers only led to the club's inability to win the game. You can blame Jason Garrett all you want for his play calling and there are times where it has been questionable but in this game, he was able to dial up some shots down the field that should have had better results. 
  • In the 2nd quarter, 3rd and 4 from the Chicago 34, Bryant is able to beat Tillman off the line and up the field in space. On the offensive line, the twist stunt is picked up but Romo throws it too far in front of Bryant wide open. Later in the quarter, Garrett sets up a 2nd and 5 from his own 25, He calls for the toss to Murray going left, Smith is out in front on the edge, Cook gets his cut off block inside on Urlacher. Witten is able to seal his man inside and Ogletree has his man on the edge but Murray fumbles the toss when the play had a chance for a nice gain for a team that really was struggling to run the ball. 
  • On 2nd and 6 on the Chicago 22, Austin is able to get behind D.J. Moore out of the slot, as he heads up the field, Witten runs a great route which safety Major Wright jumps. The other safety Conte is late getting over but the ball is thrown too far down the field landing incomplete. The next play, Bryant is lined up on the left side, Romo takes the snap and with time is looking at Bryant to his left, who runs an outstanding slant route selling it well. Romo puts the ball right where it needs to be but he can't out fight Tillman for the ball and the offense has to settle for a field goal. 
  • Again, say what you want about Garrett as a play caller but it's the coach's job to put his players in a position to make a play, but after that it's the responsibility of the player to make the play. On Monday night for the offense, there was not near enough of that offensively.   
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