I don't even know where to start. I was at the stadium for the worst collapse in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. It was a completely helpless feeling to sit there and watch Tony Romo and the Cowboys give away a 27-3 lead and lose a game they should have won in a blow out.
I place the majority of the blame for this loss on Tony Romo. Like I said when he made the throw on 3rd and 21 last week against the Redskins, Romo does things that a quarterback isn't absolutely not supposed to do. Sometimes it pays off like last week and sometimes it loses the game like yesterday.
The first interception just looked like Romo didn't see Carpenter covering out in the flat. A boneheaded mistake but at least understandable. The second interception is probably more on Laurent Robinson than on Romo because the receiver has to get inside the defender on a slant.
The third interception is the one that really makes me mad. The Cowboys were still clinging to a 6 point lead. The game was still in the hands of the offense. A few first downs and the game is over. The worst part of the play was the fact that Romo threw the ball late off his back foot and forced it into coverage when all he had to do was throw the ball away. It was just a flat out stupid play by Romo.
But we can't forget Jason Garrett's role in this disaster. He is the one who was calling high risk passes with the game on the line. All the Cowboys needed to do was run a ball control offense for a 4 minutes and the game was over. But instead he went for the jugular. The smart move would have been to be safe and milk the clock. It was just horrible on Garrett's part to even allow Romo to have the option to screw up again in the game.
And as much as I don't want to put blame on the defense they had a lot of chances to make a play to stop the Lions as the collapse slowly occurred. Sure, Romo and Robinson handed the Lions 14 points. But the pass rush disappeared for the Cowboys in the second half. All it would have taken was a sack or two or even just one turnover in the 4th quarter and the game would have been won even with the mistakes by the offense. It seemed like Rob Ryan went conservative in the second half when the aggressive, attacking style was what helped shut down the Lions for the first quarter and a half.
So where does this loss leave the Cowboys? They have won two games they should have lost and lost two games they should have won. So 2-2 feels about right considering the inconsistency that the team has shown. All is not lost. But at some point this team needs to put it all together or we are looking at an 8-8 team who can beat any team in the league or lose to any team in the league.
I'm giving Jason Garrett until midseason to clean up this mess. It seems like a lot of the mistakes that plagued the team last season are still popping up. I realize Garrett didn't get an offseason to fully implement his system and that is why I am cutting him just a little slack. But the slack is starting to run out. Either he gets the team to pull it together or I have to start questioning whether he is ever going to change the culture of the team. I believe he has improved the team's practice habits but he needs to get them playing smarter. The clock is ticking.
If there is a bright side to the mess we saw it is that we got a glimpse of how good the Cowboys can be if they can play good football for four quarters. It will just be a question of whether the players on the team are capable of playing smart, fundamentally sound football. There are 12 games to go. Hopefully the Cowboys will find a way to fix the mistakes that are costing them games.