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PREVIOUS SPORTS
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
SPORTS

SIDELINE
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

Let the Romo–bashing begin: Dallas lost
January 14, 2008

Tony Romo was set up to take the blame again the moment he set off for a (presumably) romantic vacation with Jessica Simpson last week. The media were quick to interpret his trip to Cancun as a dereliction of Tony Romeo's footballing duty, even if they did travel with Dallas tight end Jason Witten (...and his wife, before you get any funny ideas).

It doesn't help that the final image of the Cowboys' loss to the Giants was Romo throwing an interception in the endzone rather than the touchdown that would have seen Dallas in the NFC Championship game. But that was a desperation pass in a game where the Cowboys passing attack had indeed seemed desperate at times. But don't go blaming Romo.

In the playoffs, it's about putting everything on the line, leaving everything out on the field, and while Romo's usual emulation of Brett Favre's playing style looked like one of those wild Favre days when interceptions become the theme, it was Romo's line and above all his receivers that just didn't earn that NFC title berth. Eleven penalties were called against the Cowboys, and when the line wasn't setting off early, it was reacting late to the pass rush. Yes, Romo should have been getting rid of the ball when he was running from a wave of Giants pass rushers, but why was he running from that wave in the first place?

And where were his receivers?

The stats may say T.O. had a touchdown, but I can hardly remember him being in the game. If he was playing 'decoy' like Randy Moss did for the Patriots on Saturday, then decoy for who? Tight end Jason Witten apparently (7 catches 81 yards), because Terry Glenn and Patrick Crayton put in lackluster performances if they were supposed to be the true targets (5 yards combined). Glenn clearly wasn't back from his injury in any meaningful way, while Crayton... well, you know, sometimes it's easier to catch the ball if you actually reach for it. Stretching out your body for a catch is the kind of thing great receivers do in the playoffs. A couple of times it seemed like just stretching out their arms was something of a burden for the Cowboys receivers.

Catch. The. Ball.

Romo wasn't completely on target, and he was rushed, and he was flustered. The balls went a bit high, and they went a bit wide (as were center Andre Gurode's snaps for much of the day, which doesn't help settle a QB). But they were catchable. If Romo's receivers had just shared Romo's zest for the dramatic. That's the thing about a pass – it needs a little work at both ends. If a QB throws a catchable, on–target ball, anybody should be able to catch it; star receivers are supposed to catch some of the trickier ones too that's why they earn the money.

Do I sound like I'm frustrated that the Cowboys lost. Yes, I am, and I'm not even a Cowboys fan, not remotely. But the thought that the New York Giants the same Giants that helped stink up Wembley with their halfheartedness are now to be counted amongst 'the NFL's best' is hard to reconcile. Honestly folks, did they feel like a 'contender' that day? At least we can laugh at any future suggestions that traveling to the UK during the regular season disturbs a team's playoff aspirations.

For the Cowboys, the off–season starts here, and everybody can blame the quarterback who only threw for 201 yards, though it might have been around 350 with a little more desire from the receivers. Jason Witten excepted — HE seemed ready to play.

Maybe next time Romo heads to Mexico, he could take T.O. and Crayton with him too.

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