Kyle Orton performs well, but it isn’t enough for Cowboys

Posted Monday, Dec. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Tony Romo saved the season with a fourth-down play in Week 16. Kyle Orton nearly performed the encore Sunday.

Instead, it was an all-too-familiar ending for the Cowboys.

Orton’s second interception, which came with 1:43 remaining, gave the Cowboys their third consecutive 8-8 season. Orton’s record, appropriately enough, fell to 35-35.

“I thought it was ordained, that it was going to be our time,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “… I thought Orton played as well as we could have expected him to play and every bit as well as I thought he could play.

“Now, he’d be the first to tell you that none of that is any good if you don’t win. But we had a real challenge here tonight.”

With Romo watching from home after undergoing back surgery Friday to repair a herniated disk, Orton kept the Cowboys in it, even if he didn’t win it.

He completed 30 of 46 passes for 358 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“I thought Kyle played really well in this ballgame,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “There were a couple of plays in the game he would love to have back, but I thought he did a heck of a job.

“He had a great week of practice. He was prepared. He was confident. The guys responded to him. He made a ton of big plays in this game over and over again. He made some great decisions. At the end of it, he gave us a great chance to win the game.”

The Cowboys, 61/2-point underdogs, trailed by eight points with 6:09 remaining.

Orton fist-pumped and let out a yell after throwing a 32-yard touchdown to Dez Bryant on fourth-and-9 with 3:50 remaining. It drew the Cowboys within a 2-point conversion of the Eagles. But Orton’s pass intended for Bryant — on the same play the Cowboys used on a 2-point conversion last year against Baltimore — didn’t stand a chance as the throw was off target and Cary Williams had Bryant blanketed.

Orton got another chance to play the part of unlikely hero after the Cowboys got the ball back with 1:49 remaining, needing only a field goal to win.

But Orton’s first pass, intended for Miles Austin, was intercepted by Brandon Boykin.

“I just threw a bad pass,” Orton said. “Miles ran a great route, same play we scored on the play before, just went to Miles this time and just threw it behind him. And the guy made a nice catch on the ball.”

Austin, who may have played his final game for the Cowboys, shared the blame.

“I ran a post,” said Austin, who had two catches for 22 yards. “I tried to work my man. I don’t know if the MIKE [linebacker] was out. I don’t know if he didn’t want to bury the throw because someone was in there.

“It was a little bit … I should have broken it out, to be honest. I tried to break it out. I wish I could have broken it out. Just an unfortunate deal.”

The Cowboys had 12 drives, with two red-zone opportunities. They had to settle for field goals after reaching the Philadelphia 26, 25 and 18.

“We really missed a few opportunities throughout the game, two interceptions, three turnovers and kicked some field goals when we had opportunities to go down and score touchdowns,” Orton said. “So we moved the ball pretty well but didn’t cash in when we needed to.”

The Cowboys were disappointed in the loss but not in how their backup quarterback played after signing him to a three-year, $10.5 million deal, with a $5 million signing bonus, as insurance before the 2012 season.

“All in all, he handled the situation well for not having played all year long,” Garrett said. “That is the kind of guy he is. That is the kind of pro he is. We are lucky to have him.”

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?

Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
San Francisco 10/21 8:07 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
110th World Series, Game One.
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
Houston 10/21 8:00 PM ET
Indiana 10/21 8:00 PM ET
Utah 10/21 8:00 PM ET
Oklahoma City 
Portland 10/21 9:00 PM ET
Phoenix 10/21 10:00 PM ET
LA Lakers TV: TWC SN, D
LA Clippers 10/21 10:30 PM ET
Golden State TV: TNT
Full Scoreboard
Week 8Full Scoreboard
San Diego 8:25 PM ET
Denver TV: CBS/NFL Network
Detroit 9:30 AM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Seattle 1:00 PM ET
Carolina TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
St. Louis 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
Chicago 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: FOX
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
Tennessee TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Oakland 4:25 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Indianapolis 4:25 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
New Orleans TV: NBC
Washington 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
San Jose 10/21 7:00 PM ET
Boston TV: TVA Sports, CSN-CA, NESN
NY Rangers 10/21 7:00 PM ET
New Jersey TV: MSG, MSG+
Toronto 10/21 7:00 PM ET
NY Islanders TV: TSN4, MSG+2
Detroit 10/21 7:30 PM ET
Montreal TV: FSN-DET, RDS
Arizona 10/21 8:00 PM ET
Nashville TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-TN
Carolina 10/21 8:00 PM ET
Winnipeg TV: FSN-CAR, TSN3
Philadelphia 10/21 8:30 PM ET
Vancouver 10/21 8:30 PM ET
Florida 10/21 9:00 PM ET
Colorado TV: FSN-FL, Altitude
Tampa Bay 10/21 9:00 PM ET
Calgary TV: SUN, SN-W
Full Scoreboard