Detroit 34, Dallas 30: Romo Trades in His Hero Status, Possibly for Good
Tony Romo’s performance in two consecutive games while playing with injuries helped most forget the dreadful performance at the end of the week 1 loss to the Jets.
What Romo did against the Lions will also make us forget the Jets game because this one was so much worse. The Cowboys entrusted Romo to take care of a 27-3 lead, and he promptly threw two interceptions that the Lions returned for scores to cut the Dallas lead to 27-17.
Yes, it’s true that Romo played a big role in the team getting the lead, but what he did in throwing those picks erased any good will he earned from such a good first half. In fact, it’s going to be tough for even the most positive of fans to have faith in Romo again.
Dallas had the big lead thanks to a great first half. Gerald Sensabaugh, who later left the game with an injury, picked off a pass on Detroit’s opening drive. Dallas moved the ball easily from that point, and Romo’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant along the right sideline gave the Cowboys a 7-0 lead.
Dallas had a chance to go up even further after driving to the Detroit 1. But on fourth down, Felix Jones was stuffed as the Lions shut the drive down.
The Cowboys didn’t fold at that point, though. Early in the second quarter, Romo drove inside the 10 once again thanks to Romo’s 44-yard pass to Laurent Robinson. Romo hit Bryant again, increasing the lead to 14-0.
Dan Bailey kicked two field goals from there, giving Dallas a 20-3 lead.
The Cowboys got great field position to open the second half when defensive lineman Sean Lissemore returned a short kickoff into Detroit territory. Six plays later, Romo found Jason Witten in the back of the end zone, giving Dallas a 27-3 lead.
The Dallas defense made a stop, giving the ball back to the Cowboys’ offense.
Dear Jason Garrett: Your team is leading by 24 with 10:30 left in the third quarter. The last thing you need is for Romo to try to force a pass to someone. Got it?
On first down, Romo tried to force a pass into double coverage. Bobby Carpenter (yes, that Bobby Carpenter) picked off the pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown.
Dallas 27, Detroit 10.
Dallas controlled the ball on the next drive, mixing runs with short passes. Then Romo tried to thread the needle and hit Robinson on a slant. Chris Houston stepped in front of the ball at the Detroit 44 and ran down the right sideline for yet another touchdown.
Dallas 27, Detroit 17.
The Cowboys drove on the next drive for a field goal to increase the lead to 13, but the Lions still had all the momentum. The 13-point lead only lasted about 80 seconds into the fourth quarter. Matthew Stafford’s touchdown to Calvin Johnson cut the Dallas lead to 30-24.
Dear Tony Romo: You put your team into this mess, so it would be nice for you to lead a drive that would get the team out of this mess. Got it?
Dallas went three-and-out twice in a row. The Dallas defense held once, but on a later drive by the Lions, Jason Hanson nailed a 51-yard field goal to cut the Dallas lead to 30-27.
When nobody expects much from Romo, he can be a hero. When he absolutely has to be a hero, he…
…throws the ball off his back foot. Witten might have been open over the middle, but linebacker Stephen Tulloch was in position to pick off the underthrown pass.
The Dallas defense slowed the Lions, but at that point, it was just a matter of time. Frank Walker was called for holding on a third-down play in the end zone, giving the Lions and first and goal from the 2. Dallas had Terence Newman line up in single coverage on Johnson, and it wasn’t a contest.
Dallas had a chance to get into position to throw a couple of passes into the end zone, but the team couldn’t even get that far.