I'm not going to excuse Tony Romo for throwing three interceptions against the Washington Redskins, including the one late in the fourth quarter that cost the Dallas Cowboys a chance to make a comeback and win the NFC East.
I'm not going to excuse him for his failures in elimination games, either, going 1-6 in win-or-go-home contests in his career, or for the times in the past he choked in key moments.
But I absolutely will not blame him for the Cowboys' 8-8 record and failure to reach the playoffs this season. Without Romo, this team wouldn't have even been in a position to win the division on the last day of the regular season.
Look at how good Romo was down the stretch. When Dallas fell to 5-6, the team was in danger of falling out of playoff competition altogether. In the next three games—all of which were wins—Romo finished 77-of-112 (68.7 completion percentage) with 912 passing yards, six touchdowns and just one interception.
Oh, and while the Cowboys would lose in Week 16 to the New Orleans Saints, it wasn't because of Romo, who threw for 416 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in that game.
Want to blame somebody? How about the defense, which gave up 923 yards and 62 points in the last two weeks, including 446 passing yards against the Saints and 274 rushing yards against the Redskins. Eight times this year, the Cowboys defense gave up 27 points or more. That's not a recipe for success.
What about the running game, which finished 31st in the NFL in yards per game (79.1) and was absolutely pathetic when DeMarco Murray was injured?
How about head coach Jason Garrett or defensive coordinator Rob Ryan? Don't they share any blame here? And for that matter, what about the NFL's most hands-on owner and questionable general manager, Jerry Jones?
The fact is this—Tony Romo is a franchise quarterback who had a very good season for the Cowboys, but he will need to reduce his turnovers and learn to win in the clutch if the Cowboys are ever going to be a Super Bowl team.
But Romo absolutely did enough to get the Cowboys into the playoffs this season. He wasn't perfect this year, obviously, but he was good enough. The rest of the team, for the most part, was not. The coaching staff absolutely was not.
Romo is an easy target—he always has been. Despite the running game being nonexistent and the defense being a major disappointment, Romo will be blamed for his failing, as he accounted for nearly all of the team's offense.
It's not fair, frankly. And I, for one, won't blame him for the Cowboys' failures. In Dallas, there are bigger fish to fry. Unfortunately, it will be Romo who ends up getting grilled once again. The life of a quarterback, I suppose.
Or at least the life of Romo.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets have got your back, Tony.
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