Tony Romo does not call plays, KJ. Jason Garrett does.
With Deion Sanders and Chris Cooley opining on what transpired last week at Cowboy Stadium, it seems the criticism of Romo has reached a second level this season. Somebody needs to stick up for him.
If you consider the fact that the Lions made some incredible defensive plays down the stretch, and add to it that Jason Garrett could have called a better game, the blame on Romo certainly shouldn't reach the heights it has. Yes, he threw the pass, but why was he asked to throw to begin with?
Garrett's play-calling was questionable at the least, and plain foolish at worst. The Cowboys entered the 4th quarter with a seemingly in control with a 20-3 lead. They pounced on Detroit on the first drive in the third quarter, scoring a touchdown to go up 27-3. They immediately forced a punt from Detroit. That should have been it.
Then came a series of questionable play calls that Garrett needs to take responsibility for.
1) 1st and 10 with 10:30 remaining in the third quarter. After a Detroit punt, Garrett decides against handing the ball off to start shaving time off the clock. Romo's first pass is intercepted by Bobby Carpenter and returned for a touchdown. 27-10, Dallas.
2) 3rd and 2 at Detroit 47 with 5:50 left in the third quarter. Pass intercepted by Chris Houston for a touchdown. Calling a run at worst would have resulted in a punt and poor starting position for Detroit. Now, it's 27-17 Dallas. This one deserves equal blame.
3) The most egregious. With 4:22 left in the fourth, and the Cowboys hanging by a thread to a 3 point lead, Garrett does the unthinkable. He throws on 1st and 10. The pass was picked off by Stephen Tulloch.
Now it's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. But with nearly 4 minutes on the clock and a 3 point lead, running the ball is a no-brainer.
Garrett told the media after the game that Romo made the right reads, but the passes just weren't there. That's not the first time we've seen that from Tony Romo, and his head coach, and offensive coordinator before that, should know better than to let a gunslinger loose in a run-out-the-clock situation.
Romo made poor throws, that is indefensible. But he shouldn't have had to. Even with a shaky offensive line, sometimes the coach has to trust his running backs to gain two yards on third down, or two pick up a single first down at the end of the game.
Garrett clearly trusts Romo. Had he only put that same amount of trust in the rest of his offense, perhaps his quarterback wouldn't be buried in harsh criticism for what will likely be the rest of the season.
Jason Garrett calls the plays. His accountability should not be dismissed.