Five interceptions in the Dallas Cowboys’ 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears Monday placed quarterback Tony Romo and his job at the forefront of the NFL this week.
It is easy to use last night’s game as the reason to blame Romo for all of the Cowboys 'woes, but blame really lies on the entire Dallas offense.
Clearly he must improve his all-around game, as Romo is currently 23rd in the NFL with a 78.5 passer rating, has just five touchdowns along with eight interceptions through four games.
But compare those stats to his career numbers, and it’s clear last night’s game was an anomaly. Romo is a three-time Pro Bowler, with a career passer rating of 95.9, and has completed 64.6 percent of his passes.
During his seven years as a starter, Romo never posted a passer rating below 91.4 in any season, and while he is on pace to surpass his career-high 19 interceptions in 2007, he also threw 36 touchdowns in the same season.
Romo’s play can improve if those around him at the line of scrimmage play up to their potential. The Dallas receivers, especially Dez Bryant, have not lived up to the hype this season with Dallas scoring a second to last 16.3 points per game.
Miles Austin leads the team with 18 receptions for 300 yards and three touchdowns, and Kevin Ogletree has 17 catches for 269 yards and two scores. Bryant, however, has been targeted 33 times and made 21 receptions for 269 yards and no scores.
Romo’s first pick Monday resulted in a touchdown for the Bears when Bryant ran the wrong route and kept going even when Chicago had secured possession. Bryant did make eight catches for 105 yards against the Bears, but his miscommunication with Romo kickstarted the Cowboys' disappointing night.
Then there is the offensive line, where injuries and penalties have been a problem since training camp. Center Phil Costa is still nursing a bad back and has only taken three snaps during the regular season, and in their narrow 16-10 escape from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week Three, right tackle Doug Free committed four of the line’s six penalties.
While they only gave up one sack and two quarterback hits, the Cowboys offensive line allowed the Bears to terrorize Romo and force him to scramble and make poor decisions in the pocket.
Running back DeMarco Murray only managed 24 yards on 11 carries Monday, as the offensive line also failed to open up any holes for him. In his last three games, Murray has totaled only 106 yards on the ground.
"There is no question [we have to get better]," Dallas offensive line coach Bill Callahan said to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram. "I'm not going to sugarcoat this. We did not play well [against Tampa Bay on Sunday] and we are not playing well right now. We've got to improve. We've got to become a more consistent unit across the board. We are not pleased where we are at. Certainly not our standard."
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