Tony Romo continues to be the most fascinating paradox in the NFL. Against a strong New York Jets defense, Romo threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns. Yet, at the same time, Romo somehow found a way to choke in the time that he needed to be in the clutch.
There’s the fumble on the third down scramble that gave the Jets momentum. Then there’s the self-admitted “dumb decision” to try to throw to Dez Bryant with less than a minute left to play, giving Darrelle Revis the interception that led to a Jets go-ahead score. It’s frustrating to watch, but at the same time, it’s almost expected from Romo. Ever since the infamous botched field goal against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 playoffs, Romo has consistently found ways to be inconsistent in the clutch.
In his entire career, he’s won only one playoff game- a wildcard weekend game against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team the Cowboys beat twice already during that season.
The following week of that playoffs, Romo silently submitted and surrendered to the Minnesota Vikings with three fumbles and an interception as he was sacked six times. Instead of rising in the clutch, Romo completely shut down during crunch time and the Cowboys lost 34-3.
Romo’s inability to play prime-time football in the clutch has become even more obvious in recent times. In his past eight starts as a quarterback for the Cowboys, Romo’s record has been 1-7.
Those starts have included repeat patterns, such as throwing for high yardage and touchdowns, but making poor decisions in the final moments.
Last year, Romo threw for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns against the Tennessee Titans. He effectively canceled out his entire performance by throwing two interceptions in the fourth quarter, giving the Titans a 34-27 win over the Cowboys.
Almost the same thing happened the next week when Romo threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns against Minnesota. However, once again, turnovers cost Romo the game and two costly picks gave Minnesota a 24-21 victory.
Sunday night gave us yet another classic example of Romo not making it when it counted. Despite his 300 plus yards and multiple touchdowns, Romo had two key turnovers that ultimately lost the game for the Cowboys.
Consider this fact. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Cowboys had 246 wins when leading by 14 points in the fourth quarter. Until Sunday night they had zero losses in that scenario.
For the first time in franchise history, the Cowboys blew a 14 point lead in the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to the NFL’s greatest paradox.
It’s not time for Romo to be a superstar, that time has been overdue for many seasons. It’s time for Romo to just stay the course during a game and play the fourth quarter with his head on straight. At this point, Romo has no more excuses.
J.D. is a sophomore journalism major from Honolulu, Hawaii. He is also the host of the Fort Worth Four Sports Show, heard on 88.7 KTCU The Choice.