For the past 11 days, Romo has had to stew over his career-high-tying five-interception performance against Chicago thanks to the Cowboys’ bye week, and he has three more days until kickoff at M&T Bank Stadium to purge those thoughts from his mind.
“I wish we had games every three or four days,” Romo said, “but I think some of the big boys enjoy the time off.”
A year ago, Romo had to live through the same kind of break after a poor performance leading into the bye.
Against Detroit, he threw three second-half interceptions — two were returned for Lions touchdowns — as the Cowboys coughed up a 27-3 lead to lose 34-30 at Cowboys Stadium. Two weeks later at one of the NFL’s toughest venues to play, New England’s Gillette Stadium, he threw for 317 yards while completing 27 of 41 passes with a touchdown and an interception in a 20-16 loss to the Patriots.
After last year’s loss to the Lions and this year’s loss to the Bears, Romo made a similar pledge to do his job and stop trying to do too much.
How does he plan to implement the new/old philosophy this time?
“Well, I’m not going to go into detail,” Romo said. “That would only be silly to give you the things that I think are going to help us in this football game and going forward.”
Fair enough, but let’s look at 2011 as a possible way to explain what could happen. Before the meltdown against the Lions, Romo was sacked on average 1.8 times per game. After, he was sacked 2.4 times per game. Sometimes living to fight another day is a lot better than trying to make a play, although it does raise some health risks.
The Cowboys also ran the ball more — with 30-plus carries in four of their next six games — and had more success on the ground thanks to the ascension of DeMarco Murray. But there have been no signs of seeing that running game reappear through the season’s first four games.
One week after passing Roger Staubach for sole possession of third on the Cowboys’ all-time passing touchdown list, Romo can move even higher this week against the Ravens.
What happened against Chicago begs this question: Why does Romo, who will start the 82nd game of his career Sunday, have to go through such games before he realizes he has to do his job?