My First Trip to Cowboys Stadium Ends in Shock, Frustration, and Disappointment
I'm still playing it over and over in my mind. How did the Dallas Cowboys let a 27-3 third quarter lead slip away. The obvious answer is Tony Romo and his three interceptions. He's been a scapegoat before, and can certainly be one now.
The NFL is a what have you done for me lately league. Romo's gutsy performances with fractured ribs and a punctured lung were great, but that was so two weeks ago.
Listening to the call in shows leaving the stadium, the fans reprised a familiar theme. "Romo's gotta go, he's another Danny White" said one caller. "I know Jerry Jones is paying him a lot of money, but we gotta draft another quarterback" said another.
The thing that frustrates fans the most is that Romo and the Cowboys show flashes of brilliance. For nearly two and a half quarters the Cowboys were unstoppable. Romo was playing mistake free football, and the defensive front seven was forcing Matthew Stafford into check downs and rushing throws.
That all changed after Romo's second pick six in the span of five minutes. Even though the Cowboys still led by ten after Chris Houston's 56 yard touchdown return, the momentum had clearly swung to the other guys in silver in blue. The ones who had endured a decade of futility, frustration, and irrelevance.
After the pick six a rejuvenated Matthew Stafford walked to the Gatorade table and told a teammate "It's a ballgame now." At that point I knew Stafford had now doubt in his mind the Lions were going to win. I imagine on the other sideline Tony Romo was thinking 'please don't let this slip away.'
Stafford and the Lions took advantage of the gifts, as all great teams do. A quiet Calvin Johnson morphed into his alter ego 'Megatron' and the Cowboy secondary had no way of stopping. The defensive line was suddenly getting no pressure on Stafford, and he made the Cowboys pay.
The Lions had also been winning the field position battle the entire second half. When Tony Romo gave Detroit another short field with his third interception of the afternoon 90,000+ Cowboy fans knew it was a matter of when and not if the Cowboys would lose. The self fulfilling prophecy came true when Stafford hit Megatron in the corner of the endzone with 1:39 left on the clock.
This loss is easy to put on Romo because he of the three mind boggling interceptions, but the reality is the Lions made better second half adjustments. Detroit coach Jim Schwartz and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham are two of the brightest minds in the world on defense, and they weren't going to let Laurent Robinson beat them. After a huge first half, Robinson was quiet in the second half.
We knew the Lions weren't going to stay quiet for four quarters, but the Cowboys never had an answer to the furious Detroit rally. After Romo's second pick six the Cowboys did put together a decent drive, but it ended with a Dan Bailey three pointer.
The good news is that this is only one game, and the Cowboys have the bye week to get healthy and regroup. The bad news is that this was a painful way to lose and they have the Patriots waiting for them after the break.
As for me, I am still in awe of Cowboy Stadium, and can't wait to go back!