Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 12/31/12

Same old Romo. Same old Dallas Cowboys. In a crucial December game, Romo and the Cowboys badly choked away their playoff chances, not showing up in a 28-18 beatdown that was worse than the score let on. The Redskins had their way with the Cowboys n this game, much like on Thanksgiving, rushing for a total of 274 yards, as the patchwork Cowboys defense couldn’t stop the run. What’s worse is that the Redskins kept doing the same thing over and over, and every time the Cowboys bit. NBC relentlessly showed how DeMarcus Ware was unblocked, he’d slide over on the option fake, and RG3 would run it around the newly opened hole. It is images like this that makes this loss even more disappointing. The Cowboys didn’t have the mental toughness or capacity to figure out that the Redskins were going to keep doing this until it could be stopped. Let’s not take away from the talent that is RG3 – and even Alfred Morris – but to do the same things over and over again defensively by the Cowboys means they were either outcoached, or they have a serious problem. While it’s not my place to call for Rob Ryan’s head, especially since the patchwork defense gave the Cowboys many opportunities to win this season, something has to change defensively. They were totally beat on that side of the ball. Also, even with the Cowboys down 21-18, and with a slim chance of coming back, the defense had a mental lapse. After essentially having stopped the Skins on 3rd down, an unnecessary blow to the head of RG3 by Jason Hatcher gave the Skins new life, and enabled them to score a TD as opposed to kicking a field goal and keeping it a one possession game, and thus, giving the Cowboys another chance. It was an untimely penalty, and that goes to the lack of mental toughness and lack of discipline this team shows.   Romo regressed, as did the entire team in a crucial loss to the Redskins. But what’s worse than even that was the regression of the offense, and Tony Romo. He threw 3 INTs after having one the entire month, and none was bigger than on a swing route intended for DeMarco Murray in the flat that got picked off by Rod Jackson with Dallas down 3 late in the 4th. For all of his good play in the month of December (he had 10 TDs and 1 INT prior to last night), no one will remember any of that. His critics will only remember last night. As they should. Careers nowadays are defined by championships. And until Romo can prove he can win the big one, he will be nothing but the 4th best QB ever for the Cowboys, behind proven champions Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, and Danny White, who at least could lead the Cowboys to the NFC Championship, something Romo hasn’t even sniffed in his career. It was a wild ride, but no one picked the Cowboys to contend anyway, so just being able to be in it to the end should give the Cowboys reason for hope, especially if they can stay healthy next year. And hey, if Romo keeps choking, at least there is hope in the distant future. It’s no coincidence that when Romo’s career will decline due to the natural progression of age, that around that time some college QB named Johnny Manziel will enter the draft. That’s still a few years away though, but at the rate Romo is sending home his team every year, that may be something for Cowboys fans to hope for over the next few years. I won’t go into details in this article on how to fix this team. My stance though is widely known and hasn’t changed. It begins and ends with Jason Garrett. And with Black Monday leaving plenty of coaching options open, it’d be worth it for the Cowboys to explore any and all avenues. But that’s an issue for a separate time. Right now though, let’s seethe over Romo being the same old Romo, and these Cowboys for making us think this year would be different. After all, it’s the Cowboys. Who were we to think they’d be any different than normal?

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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