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Running Away From the Run

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There isn't a soul alive that isn't aware of what Tony Romo did to kill the Cowboys in Sunday's 34-30 loss to the Lions.

His interceptions were all of the mind-bogglingly awful variety, each one worse than the one before and all of them made him the number one culprit in the Lions' 31-point rally from 27-3 down in the second half. Any attempt to argue otherwise would be an exercise in excuse-making that doesn't have any place in a reasonable attempt to understand what went wrong.

Romo has been around long enough to know exactly what he is as a quarterback. He is a talented passer capable of leading the team to victories and he is also so erratic that he can blow games in a matter of minutes. We've had two games that proved the former and two games that proved the latter already this season.

The question that the Cowboys need to answer at some point is why they allow Romo to keep doing this to them. Because that's exactly what Jason Garrett did on Sunday.

From the point when the Cowboys took a 27-3 lead on Jason Witten's touchdown on the first drive of the second half, Garrett called 11 running plays and 14 passing plays. Three of those passes were intercepted, which is on Romo, but it makes no sense that the Cowboys did anything other than try to grind the clock down when they had the ball with such an enormous lead.

There are four potential outcomes to a passing play, not including penalties. You can complete a pass, it can fall incomplete, you can turn the ball over or the quarterback can be sacked. Three of those four outcomes are negative. With a running play, you can fumble but otherwise, at the very least, the clock runs and you retain possession.

It's not sexy and it won't make anyone call Garrett an offensive genius, but it would be a lot more effective than what they've come up with in their two losses this season. The Jets game was well in hand with the ball on the goal line when Garrett decided to call a pass that wound up with a Romo fumble. Again, the miscues all fall on Romo's shoulders but the willingness to let him give games away is almost as hard to understand as the way he gives them away.

Expecting different results when you make the same mistakes time and again is beyond foolish. It's well past time that the Cowboys learned that lesson.

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