New York Times: Tony Romo’s Final Interception
At the New York Times’ Fifth Down blog, I broke down Tony Romo’s final interception of the 2012 season.
I tracked 8 of Romo’s 37 passes as being off-target — about twice his normal rate — and all three of his interceptions were mostly his fault. Despite playing at a near-elite level over much of the second half of the season, Romo will have to suffer through another off-season of torment for failing to perform against the Redskins in a prime-time game in the national spotlight. More specifically, he’s going to have to relive one particular play again and again.
With 3 minutes 7 seconds remaining and time ticking away, the Cowboys were in hurry-up mode. Down by 21-18 and fresh off a touchdown drive and subsequent Redskins three-and-out, the Cowboys actually had a bit of momentum. From its 9-yard line, Dallas lined up with “12” personnel — one running back, two tight ends and two receivers — in “Gun Tight End Trips Right.” It’s a formation the Cowboys use frequently in hurry-up situations and one they used 11 times on the night.
Before the snap, the Redskins showed blitz, something they did on 16 of the Cowboys’ 61 offensive snaps. Washington had brought pressure on Romo throughout the night, often lining up in conservative base alignments and sending unexpected rushers. All told, the Redskins sent five or more rushers after Romo on an incredible 52.4 percent of the Cowboys’ plays.
Interestingly, the Cowboys had tight end James Hanna in the slot with receivers Dwayne Harris and Kevin Ogletree split out wide. That’s not exactly the same threat as Dez Bryant, a player Romo could potentially target regardless of coverage.
Washington ended up rushing six of the seven defenders who were lined up within two yards of the line of scrimmage at the snap. The blitz was an aggressive one, but it at first appeared to be an all-out blitz. Outside linebacker Rob Jackson initially rushed up-field toward Romo before dropping into coverage.
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