Tony Romo's This Week's Goat; Cam Newton Starts on Good Note

Dan PieroniCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2011

Tony Romo's poor decision making in the fourth quarter cost the Cowboys on Sunday Night
Tony Romo's poor decision making in the fourth quarter cost the Cowboys on Sunday NightElsa/Getty Images

Another Year, another format change,

This, quite simply will be a space for me to hand  out a bunch of honors in the form of awards.

Some award titles will make repeat appearances, while others will be a one-time clever allusion to something relevant in popular culture, relating to my point.

But instead of boring you with minute details, I feel that we should just get down to business.

Goat of the week: Tony Romo, Cowboys

If you were to analyze everything but the fourth quarter in the Dallas quaterback's performance on Sunday night, you'd probably conclude that he had a good night.

But oh that fourth quarter.

Romo's ineptitude shone through on an ill-advised goal line sneak which led to a fumble.

Then, he made a poor decision in targeting a weakened Dez Bryant with an under-thrown pass near Revis Island.

All Darelle Revis had to do was make sure he precisely timed his jump to reach the ball, which he undoubtedly did.

But the worst thing Romo did was take his eyes off the center for a split second as he was hiking the ball.

The ensuing scramble for the ball took precious time off the clock that the Cowboys could have used to get a game-tying field goal.

Instead, Romo had to settle for a desperation heave which went for naught, and allowed the Jets to escape with a win,

There's no question that Romo has the talent and the drive to help Dallas contend in the NFC East.

However, his decision-making skills are highly questionable at the moment, and they'll need to improve if the Cowboys intend on going anywhere.

The How Do You Like Me Now Award: Bryant McKinnie, Ravens

McKinnie was cut by the Vikings last month because he was out of shape, and he no longer could be trusted to protect the blind side of the quarterback

In other words, the Vikings thought he was washed up,

But McKinnie showed them—he threw the key block that sprung Ray Rice for a 36-yard gain and served as the catalyst for a Ravens feasting on the hated Steelers. 

The Moral Victory Award: Cam Newton, Panthers

Newton silenced his critics who said he wasn't talented enough, or that his miracle season last year at Auburn was a fluke, by throwing for 422 yards in his NFL debut.

Although Newton and the Panthers ultimately came up short of a win, Newton set an NFL rookie record for passing yards in a game.

So in essence, this was a moral victory, since Newton proved he could handle the NFL; and the Panthers and their fans may have finally found the franchise QB they desperately need.

The You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks Award: Brian Urlacher, Bears

Paris Hilton's ex showed he was far from the waning stages of his career by recording 10 tackles, intercepting a Matt Ryan pass, and returning a fumble for a touchdown in Chicago's surprising dismantling of Atlanta.

Most Panicked Fanbase Award: The Colts

Now, before you claim that I'm just saying this because I'm a glee-filled Patriots fan who believes you can bury the Colts right now, please hear me out.

I say this because I firmly believe that the Colts are finding it difficult to warm up to the reality of life without Peyton Manning.

Sure Manning is 35 years old, but he's still an elite quarterback. If the Colts brass didn't believe that, they wouldn't have rewarded him with a five-year, $90 million contract this offseason.

However, this was before it was announced that Manning could miss the entire season with a neck injury, and before Kerry Collins was lured out of retirement to serve as Manning's backup/replacement.

I have nothing against Collins—he has proven to be a very solid and capable quarterback throughout his career—but I have a hard time believing that the Colts can succeed with a 38-year-old man under center who was just adjusting to the retired life.

What exactly was wrong with the younger and presumably quicker Curtis Painter?

I'd like to think that the Colts would have been in better shape with him because he was more familiar with the offense than Collins.

The Colts without Manning is like a peanut butter sandwich without jelly; it may be decent enough, but it just isn't as good.

I believe the Colts will be good enough to avoid the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, but if Sunday's loss to the Texans is any indication, it could be a long year.

Most Unaware Team that the Lockout is Over Award: The Kansas City Chiefs

The defending AFC West Champions laid an egg against the lowly Bills in the worst opening day loss in the history of the franchise.

For the defense to allow 41 points to a perennial also-ran is quite a humbling experience.

The Deja Vu All Over Again Award: The Chargers Special Teams Unit

The biggest thing that kept San Diego from championship glory last season was their porous play on special teams

They thought they had the problem fixed by hiring a new special teams coach.

The Vikings' Percy Harvin took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, and to add insult to injury, SD's Pro Bowl kicker Nate Kaeding tore his ACL.

Looks like it's back to the drawing board.

The Don't Count Your Chickens Award: Luke McCown, Jaguars

In the third quarter of Jacksonville's loss to Tennessee, the Jaguar quarterback tried to run for a first down, and was under the impression he got it, as he made the first down signal as soon as he left the ground.

Unfortunately, the officials called for a measurement, and McCown ended up being inches short.


The Golden Toe Award: Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders

The Oakland veteran tied the NFL record for the longest field goal in history with a 63-yard boot in Monday night's win over the Broncos.

While the thin Denver air may have aided the kick, it still is quite an achievement nonetheless. 

The Ultimate Winner Award: We the fans

Joni Mitchell said it best, "Don't it always seems to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone."

I'm sure that we all felt that way during the lockout.

We can agree to disagree on which side got the better end of the deal, and whether or not the players and owners are too greedy—but football is back.

For without football, we might have had to sit through lawn dart competitions, or spent our Sunday's doing yard work or shopping.

But the players and owners reached a compromise, and although it led to to a crazy preseason, at least it was reached before any real important games were missed.

Here's to another great season!


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