Regardless of whatever accomplishments he enjoys in the NFL, Jason Garrett will forever be known as the coach who iced his own kicker. But the criticism of Garrett conceals a more troubling truth regarding the final moments of regulation in the Cowboys’ eventual overtime loss to the Cardinals.
Quarterback Tony Romo found yet another way to blow a game in the clutch.
Yes, Garrett inexplicably called for a time out while his team was in field-goal position. Kicker Dan Bailey made the one that didn’t count, and he missed the one that did.
Before it ever got to that point, however, Tony Romo failed to realize that the Cowboys had two time outs remaining, after a completion on third and 11 gave Dallas a first down at the Arizona 32, with 26 seconds to play.
Instead of immediately calling for a time out, Romo rushed the offense to the line of scrimmage for a spike play. A full 19 seconds later, the clock had been stopped by the intentional incompletion.
After the game, Romo clumsily explained that he didn’t call the time out because he didn’t know whether the Cowboys had gotten a first down. But the tape shows no hesitation on Romo’s part; he immediately urged his teammates to get in position to spike the ball, which means that he simply didn’t realize he had two time outs in his pocket. (Besides, if the Cowboys hadn’t gotten a first down, spiking the ball would have given possession to the Cardinals. Thus, if Romo had any doubt at all about whether it was first down or fourth down, his first move should have been to take the time out.)
In fairness to Romo, Garrett could have called for a time out from the sideline while Romo was rushing the offense into position for the spike play. But Romo, if he truly intends to be a Super Bowl winning quarterback and to overcome a reputation for finding new and exciting ways to screw up with the game on the line, needs to know how many time outs he has left and when to use him. Otherwise, he’ll again per perceived as finding new and exciting ways to screw up with the game on the line.
The only thing saving Romo from more widespread criticism is that most NFL fans were watching the Packers-Giants game at the time.
The Romo situation was a topic during Tuesday’s episode of PFT Live. Though I said pretty much the same things that I’ve just typed, you can assess Romo’s explanation for yourselves, while also trying to figure out why he’s wearing a dress shirt with a neck hole roughly eight sizes too big.