The week’s most exciting NFL game clearly took place in Dallas, Texas on Sunday. Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos overcame a strong effort by the Dallas Cowboys to eek out a 51-48 victory on the road to advance to 5-0. A shootout to say the least, Dallas hung in stride for stride with the heavy favorites for 58 minutes before suffering another Tony Romo signature collapse.
If one looks at the box score alone, they will see a career game for Tony Romo. The quarterback passed for 506 yards and five scores on just 25 completions. He picked apart what was supposed to be a stellar Denver defense throughout this game.
And then the two minute warning came.
The end of games are what has made Romo so perplexing throughout his career in Dallas. Statistically very good just about every season, Romo has never seriously snuck his way into the conversation when it comes to top quarterbacks. Most of this is due to a perceived inability to win games in clutch moments down the stretch.
Signs of his questionable ability to come through under pressure were apparent early on in his career. One just has to go back to his days as a holder to see his infamous 2007 Wild Card loss to the Seahawks. Romo wasn’t even the starter, but found a way to lose the game by botching the snap on a 19 yard go-ahead field goal attempt.
Statistically Romo won the quarterback duel against Peyton Manning on Sunday. 90 more passing yards and an extra touchdown were about the only difference between the two men statistically if you exclude Manning’s incredibly slow bootleg touchdown run. From a passing standpoint, Romo had the better day.
But then he showed why people have doubted his ability to win a championship throughout his career. With his team tied and the clock winding down, Romo just had to continue to do what he had done all day long. Drive down and score.
If he could do that, Dallas would surely win.
But then came the two minute warning.
It was as if a switch flipped in his head. It looked as if Romo was trying not to turn the ball over, thinking about not making a mistake. You could tell the pressure was in his head.
And then he threw a game-losing interception.
You can’t give the ball to Peyton Manning on the wrong side of the 50 with under two minutes in a close ball game. Giving a game on a silver platter to a future Hall of Famer is not a way to operate in the NFL.
Tony Romo may have had a huge statistical day, but he once again proved to the world exactly what he is. The Cowboys continue to believe in Romo, but may want to reconsider their plans if they want to start winning the close games. The NFC East looks incredibly evenly matched this season (not in a good way) and a game like this could very well be the difference between a playoff berth or watching the action from home come January.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express