Two melodramas played out in the aftermath of one of the great shootouts in NFL history Sunday. They were pretty different.
The Broncos, on the road, stomped in muddy boots across the open record book again, setting or tying or threatening a slew of franchise and league records as they rolled to 51 points, which would have been the highest score in their history if they hadn’t scored 52 last week.
The Cowboys, at home, saw the quarterback they want to believe in deliver the best performance of his career, keeping them in the game the whole way — and then give it away with a characteristic mistake at the end. Linebacker Danny Trevathan’s interception deep in Dallas territory with the score tied at 48 and two minutes remaining turned a dramatic tossup into a filibuster by the best offense in football.
Despite throwing for 506 yards and five touchdowns, Tony Romo carried the hangdog look that has become his post-game trademark when he met the inquiring minds afterward. He explained that the Cowboys had looked at tape of the Broncos in the two-minute drill and decided they were prone to leave the seams open. He had completed a similar seam route earlier.
“They did a good job,” he said. “The kid made a good play. I didn’t get as much on it, just with the people around me, as I wanted to. I wanted to put it another foot or two out in front and the ball, I didn’t put it exactly where I needed to to complete the pass. It’s frustrating and disappointing.”
Replays showed his front foot landed on another shoe in the pass protection traffic around him as he stepped into the throw.
This is Romo’s rep, of course — the best quarterback around until it’s time to win.
“When I was in New England or even in San Diego, the scouting report was the same — that he was a talented guy, he made a lot of plays and he had what we call a ‘wow’ factor,” former safety Rodney Harrison said on Sunday Night Football. “When you watch him on film, he makes some incredible plays.
“But we also knew in the fourth quarter that he was going to make one or two mistakes in those critical moments. He was going to either turn the ball over, fumble, interception, he was going to make that key mistake.”
It’s all very Shakespearean, this fatally flawed hero.
The Broncos got wheels up out of Dallas and left the Cowboys’ drama behind. They have a happier one of their own. They are challenging offensive records by the boatload, entertaining a growing slice of America in the process. They may have to hire someone just to rewrite their record book.
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