IRVING, Texas – The typical criticism poured down on quarterback Tony Romo after Sunday’s awe-inspiring start and ultimately disappointing loss, but none of it’s coming from within the organization.
Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones described Romo’s 506-yard, five-touchdown performance as the best game he’s ever seen his franchise quarterback play, and the rest of Romo’s teammates echoed similar sentiments, despite the fourth quarter interception.
“Just what I’ve been saying, he’s just a premier quarterback and he played his butt off for us,” said defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. “The defense didn’t do a good enough job to win. We should have got off the field on third down and made plays.”
The defensive players placed the blame of the game entirely on their own shoulders for letting up 51 points in a three-point defeat.
They don’t blame the quarterback who set the franchise record for passing yardage in a single game. Romo is currently No. 1 in the NFC in completion percentage (71.8), touchdown passes (13), interceptions thrown (2) and quarterback rating (114.3).
He’s in the top five of every major passing category in the NFC besides attempts, where he resides in sixth place. The only player beating him in all those categories is the AFC quarterback he went toe-to-toe with Sunday, Peyton Manning, who’s having an unprecedented start to the season.
“Tony played fantastic in the game,” said linebacker Sean Lee. “The defense let us down in the game. It starts with a guy like me. I didn’t play well enough. I didn’t make enough plays. The offense played fantastic. It should squarely be on the defense.”
The defense never forced the Broncos to punt once. Denver was, however, forced into three field goals, a fumble and an interception, which gave the Cowboys’ offense a fighting chance. Three Cowboys players went for more than 100 yards receiving, including Jason Witten, whose 10-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter gave the Cowboys a three-point lead at the time.
“They’ve got a great quarterback across the way, maybe the best ever, but No. 9 played pretty well today,” Witten said. “Probably the best game I’ve seen him play in a long time – if not the best. I’m proud of him.”
Even when Romo plays one of the best games of his career, the late interception is still what will resonate for many pundits across the nation. That will typically happen for the most polarizing quarterback in the league, particularly when his best game ever is also a loss.
“I thought Tony played a fantastic football game,” said head coach Jason Garrett. “You know, we were up and down the field, he made critical throws throughout the game all over the field. Unfortunately, in that particular case, they made the play and that was the difference-making play.”