The post-mortem is always painful. But the point of a post-mortem is to know. And that's why this one - following up on how the Cowboys lost 17-10 in Denver - leaves an unusual sting.
Did Tony Romo and the Cowboys not know that their last-gasp fourth-down throw was a last-gasp and fourth-down?
I'll leave it to you to judge.
Here's a piece of video from Dallas TV station Fox4 that suggests that following Romo's fourth-down incompletion to Sam Hurd, he was preparing for one more chance.
*Romo seems to be attempting to hustle the Cowboys back into the huddle.
*Then Tony looks towards a ref and signals "three fingers,'' likely questioning why the previous play wasn't just third down.
*Finally - apparently realizing that there was a stop-the-clock spike earlier in the series that ate up second down - Romo barks at himself and trudges off the field.
Was this a game-decider? Would Romo have attempted a different throw or targeted a different receiver had he more awareness of the circumstance? Is this a blip on the radar screen for a good-and-growing football team and a good-and-growing quarterback? Is this an indicator of a big-picture problem?
I'll just say this: The post-mortem is painful enough when you don't know the answers.
It's even more painful to find out that maybe they don't know the answers.