What were these Cowboys thinking, you ask?

Posted Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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galloway You know all the details, so take your pick:

(1) Stupid or (2) simply Hoodoo Voodoo.

Concerning the Cowboys’ latest junction malfunction in the oh-bleep loss to the Green Bay Packers, which one is it?

Stupid seems to apply, and has been this week’s overwhelming most popular choice for fans, media, TV analysts, radio talk, etc.

Bad luck, admittedly, also applies here, so Hoodoo Voodooed is a legit choice. It doesn’t take a psychic to tell you the football gods hate Jerry Jones.

Plus, one other choice has to be considered:

The Cowboys were (3) Romo-ed in that loss.

It’s just what Tony does. Or he does it frequently enough that the tendency is to say it’s just what Tony does.

A Romo pick continually happens at the worst of times.

And the worst of times against the Packers came with a five-point Cowboys lead and the fourth-quarter clock under three minutes.

So let’s place a brain-bugging device on the three leading characters involved in this particular malfunction process: Play-caller Bill Callahan, who is upstairs; head coach Jason Garrett, who is downstairs relaying the call to the quarterback; and, of course, Romo.

What follows is a guesstimate of what each was thinking.

Callahan, on second-and-6 from the Dallas 35, is pondering quickly in these following areas:

•  Strategy.

“We run it here, the Packers take their final timeout afterward, and with only the two-minute warning left, we can run the clock out with two more first downs.

“But wait. Green Bay is going to be in a 10-man front, playing the run. What if we double call [or package call]? It’s a run first, but based on what Tony sees, he can audible to a pass.”

•  Negative thought.

“Our defense sucks. We can’t give the ball back. If we are stuffed on the second-down run, and it’s third-and-6, Green Bay will drop back in pass coverage. Yeah, we’ve got to double call, but it’s a run first.”

•  The Jerry cloud.

“The big boss said Tony is our Peyton. The big boss wants Tony to have the option to do what Tony thinks is best. So the double call is what the big boss is going to get here.”

Then there’s Garrett, who takes the double call from upstairs. The brain bug on Red J hears this:

•  Strategy.

“This should be a run only. There shouldn’t be a pass option. I can change it to run only. I’m the head coach.”

•  Negative thought.

“Our defense sucks. We can’t give the ball back. We need two first downs.”

•  The Jerry cloud.

“This is what the big boss wanted. I didn’t want to give up play-calling to that guy upstairs, but the big boss made me. I didn’t want Tony to have that much power at the line of scrimmage. The big boss said he wanted a Peyton.

“You wanted it, Mr. Jones. You got it. A double call for Tony. Bet you anything he throws it.”

And finally there’s Tony. Here’s what the Romo brain bug hears:

•  Strategy.

“Hell, yes, I’m changing to the pass. You don’t run into a 10-man front. We need two first downs. Gotta go. Gotta gun-sling. Our defense sucks.”

•  Negative thought.

“Look at Matthews [Clay, the linebacker] over there. He’s up on the line and uncovered. I could bring the kid [tight end Gavin Escobar] in motion to come over and block, but the kid couldn’t block a pillow, much less Matthews.”

“I know Clay is coming. But I can spin move him, get free on the outside and Miles [Austin] will be single-covered over the middle. This can be six.”

•  The Jerry cloud.

“The big boss thinks I’m Peyton. He’s wrong. I’m Favre. You think Favre would be handing off in this spot? Hell, no.”

All of the above is what the brain bug tells us.

But once the thinking game was over, and it was real time at crunch time, Romo was almost right. So was Callahan with the double call. So was Garrett by leaving the double call alone.

Almost right.

Matthews blew in on Romo untouched. Romo put the clever spin move on him, quickly moved left and was open. Speaking of open, Miles cleared the cornerback on the post route at midfield.

Lights. Camera. Action.

Hello, Sam Shields. The corner made the fateful pick at midfield. Shields recovered on the play because Romo’s throw was behind Miles. If Romo leads him 

If, if, if.

“Tell you what happened,” said a scout not associated with the Cowboys. “Tony did what Tony does about every time he throws a pick. He didn’t set up with his feet.

“Heck of a move on Matthews. With that, Tony now has time, and he’s got a receiver out there. But he doesn’t get his feet under him and planted. Not a rusher within 10 yards of Romo and he still throws it when he’s falling off to the left.”

“I don’t understand. I really don’t.”

Well, now we do. Now we all understand.

Should have run it.

Except, despite all the local and national howling, the basic concept of that particular killer play was good.

Then Tony did what Tony does.

It’s never just about Romo. It’s about basically everything associated with this franchise. And that’s the ongoing story of Jerry’s dog-butted Cowboys.

Randy Galloway, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @sportsdfw

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