Posted December 24, 2012 on AP on Fox
After throwing three interceptions in his latest make-or-break defeat, Tony Romo shuffled across a silent locker room, grimacing and looking at the floor. He dressed creakily. Merely putting on his dark socks appeared to be an ordeal. Now comes a tougher task for the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback: processing his performance in a season-ending 28-18 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday night with the NFC East title on the line. ''I feel as though I let our team down,'' Romo said at his postgame news conference, his words deliberate, his stare blank. ''Your legacy will be written when you're done playing the game,'' said Romo, whose three interceptions matched his total from the previous eight games combined. ''It's disappointing not being able to get over that hump,'' he added, ''but I also know that football is the ultimate team sport and I need to continue to improve, and our football team does, to get there.'' Needing a victory over the rival Redskins (10-6) to reach the playoffs, the Cowboys (8-8) finished at .500 for the second season in a row. They'll miss the postseason for the third consecutive year. And this is the third time in the past five years that Dallas lost its regular-season finale when a win would have allowed it to keep playing. ''We have a big challenge ahead of us. (The Redskins) are, of course, in the tournament, and we have to sit at home and think about how to get in the tournament. This is very disappointing. We have players that have fought hard all year, but it did not end up the way we wanted,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. ''And one of my jobs is to evaluate and analyze and make decisions in the offseason that can help us be in better shape.'' He can look at Washington to see how quickly things can change. Rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris needed only four months to give the Redskins their first division title since 1999. Griffin, the Heisman Trophy winner drafted second overall, ran for 63 yards and a touchdown. Morris, the sixth-rounder from Florida Atlantic, ran for 200 yards and three TDs. He set the franchise single-season rushing record for the Redskins, who turned around the season behind their quarterback's talent and leadership to win seven straight games, becoming the first NFL team to make the playoffs after starting 3-6 since the 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars. After the final whistle, team captain Griffin walked off the field with a big smile, holding up his left index finger in a No. 1 gesture. Washington, which set a franchise record with only 14 turnovers this season (zero on Sunday), will host Seattle next Sunday. Romo, meanwhile, was intercepted on each of Dallas' first two possessions. His last turnover was the one that bothered him the most: A poor throw was picked off by Rob Jackson when the Cowboys had a chance to drive for a winning score in the final minutes. ''That'll eat at me for weeks now,'' Romo said. He almost became the first Dallas quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards in a season, but his career is instead further tainted by late-season disappointments. He also had Week 17 losses to the Philadelphia Eagles (44-6) in 2008 and the New York Giants (31-14) last year, along with a 1-3 record in playoff games (who can forget the botched hold?). ''There's been a couple of these games towards the end of the year that are critical games and we haven't gotten it done as a football team - and Tony's certainly a part of that, but everybody's a part of that,'' Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. On Sunday, Morris' 32-yard scamper gave the Redskins a 21-10 cushion with 10 1/2 minutes left. Trying to play catch-up, Dallas pulled within three on a 10-yard TD pass to Kevin Ogletree and a 2-point conversion with 5:50 to play. But Morris' third touchdown, a 1-yard run with 1:09 left, sealed the outcome. It didn't help matters for Dallas that receivers Dez Bryant (back) and Miles Austin (left ankle) got injured. Bryant, who Garrett said ''really couldn't even walk,'' left after four catches for 71 yards. ''Missing those two guys is crucial,'' said Ogletree, who got a talking-to from Romo after the QB's first interception. In the end, Dallas also was hurt by missing five injured starters on a defense that simply could not stop Morris. But what will be remembered mostly will be the play of Romo, who completed 20 of 31 passes for 218 yards, often facing pressure from what Garrett described as the way the Redskins ''just kind of rolodexed those blitzes through.'' ''We know Romo doesn't like pressure in his face, so that was our big thing,'' Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. ''We had to get pressure up the middle. Not so much on the outside; keep him in the pocket. That's what we were able to do.'' Notes: Cowboys KR-WR Dwayne Harris was on crutches after the game. Garrett said he had a lower leg injury. ... Dallas is 128-128 in regular-season games since the start of the 1997 season. --- Connect with Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich --- Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Cowboys-Redskins flexed to Sunday night primetime slot

The NFL has announced that the Week 17 Cowboys-Redskins game has been flexed to Sunday Night Football on NBC on December 30. The Cowboys-Redskins showdown will decide the winner of the NFC East and is the marquee match up of the final week of the season. This is the second consecutive season the NFC East championship game will be the final game of the regular season according...

Jason Witten sets record for receptions by tight end in season

Dallas Cowboys tight end set a new record for receptions by a tight end in a season. Witten who upped his season total to 103 catches surpassed the old record held by Tony Gonzalez of 102 which was set in 2004. Witten finished Sunday’s game with six catches for 60 yards. Dallas lost the game to New Orleans in overtime. Witten and the ‘boys will look to add to his total next week...

Witten sets NFL record for tight end catches

ARLINGTON, Texas It's obvious that if Jason Witten had a choice, he'd rather have the Cowboys reach the playoffs than accomplish an individual record. But he wasn't given that option Sunday. The Cowboys had their playoff hopes removed from their control with a 34-31 loss to the New Orleans Saints in overtime. The game proved to be a milestone one for Witten, who set...

Cowboys must win to show progress is real

ARLINGTONThe same thing is only kind of on the line for the Cowboys and Redskins when they meet in Landover, Maryland for what basically amounts to The NFC East Championship game Sunday. Yes, thanks to the strange world of NFL tiebreakers and the Giants getting their butts whipped in Baltimore, the Boys-Skins winner wins the division and the accompanying playoff berth. It is not...

Cowboys know playoffs-or-bust drill in NFC East

The Dallas Cowboys should know this drill by now. The only thing left is figuring out how to win a playoffs-or-bust game at an NFC East rival in the final game of the season. The Cowboys flopped badly in Philadelphia in 2008, and were better but still not very good last season at the New York Giants. Dallas gets another chance Sunday night at Washington against Robert Griffin...

Depleted Dallas defense finally falls short

ARLINGTON, Texas The Cowboys' "Name Tag" defense got its nickname this season because you can't tell the injury replacements without name tags. On Sunday against the Saints, the defense really did play like a bunch of guys just introduced to each other. The Cowboys lost, 34-31, in overtime mainly because they couldn't stop Drew Brees and the Saints' offense...

Five thoughts on Cowboys' OT loss to Saints

ARLINGTON, Texas The Cowboys no longer control their own destiny. With a 34-31 overtime loss Sunday to the New Orleans Saints, the Cowboys need help to reach the playoffs. Here are my five thoughts on the Cowboys falling to 8-7, a game back of Washington for the NFC East lead, with one game remaining. 1.) Jason Garrett's bunch has become Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles...

Cowboys “New-Name” Defense Not Good Enough in OT Loss

Connor,  Albright, Sims, Poppings, Perah, Claiborne, Frampton “Comes Alive”, etc. etc. We have all heard of the No-Name Defense of the Dolphins and the Dooms-Day defense of the Cowboys glory years.   The Cowboys defense now has to be called the “New-Name Defense.” There are so many Dallas players getting playing time that I am not even sure who most of them are.   DeMarcus...

Week 17: NFL Flexes Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins Game For Sunday Night Football

When the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins battle it out for the NFC Championship in Week 17, they will be doing so in prime time, as the NFL chose that game to flex to the Sunday Night Football contest. The winner will be this season’s NFC East Champion and clinch the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. If the 9-6 Redskins defeat the 8-7 Cowboys to claim the division, they will also...

Saints hold off Cowboys rally for 34-31 OT win

The Dallas Cowboys lost control of their playoff fate Sunday - for about three hours. Drew Brees threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns and led a drive ending in Garrett Hartley's winning 20-yard field goal in overtime, and the New Orleans Saints beat the Cowboys 34-31 in a game that turned out to be meaningless to the postseason hopes of both teams. The Saints knew they...

Champs & Chumps: Dez Bryant, Tony Romo Put Up Big Numbers in Loss

Unless you’re in some sort of bogus fantasy league that plays Week 17, in which case quit and join a new league, fantasy football for you is over in 2012.Better luck next year… or maybe congratulations. Or maybe a little bit of both (since most of you reading this are probably in 3+ fantasy leagues).For most NFL teams, next week has the significance of a preseason game. Thus...

Film & Review: Jerrod Heard

It was the Jerrod Heard Show Saturday at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, as the Denton Guyer quarterback and Texas commit accounted for seven touchdowns and 332 yards to steer his Wildcats to the Texas 4A-II state title. Kevin Flaherty and Erin Hartigan break down how Heard was able to put on such a display, what this means for the 'Horns, and much more. (Highlights included)

Goose Siragusa Vs. Moose Johnston Ugly Christmas Sweater-Off

You know who must be miserable this morning? People that have to work an eight hour shift on Christmas Eve and the Dallas Cowboys. You just have to beat the Saints to pretty much wrap up the NFC East and you can’t. Now it’ll take a win – on the road – over the Redskins for the Cowboys to win the division. There are tie breaker rules involved, too, but the Cowboys have that...

Cowboys still control fate

ARLINGTON, Tex, - Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints won't go to the playoffs in their season without suspended coach Sean Payton. The Dallas Cowboys again need help to get there.
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.