Trust me, I was NOT saying that during the game last night. It was more like, "Throw the @$%$%$ ball!". But now that I look back, those were smart sacks and signs of a maturing Romo. At times it looked like the Eagles D had 12-13 men on the field because they were blitzing guys from everywhere. When your protection gets beat, 3 bad things can happen - sack, sack fumble or a bad decision throw. Romo did the smart thing last night...he took the sack, protected the ball, minimized the damage and came back for another play or series.
Philly got to Romo 4 times so let's look at those 4 sacks as well as the aftermath of those sacks to see just how smart they really were.
Sack 1 - 1st and 10 from our 45. Romo bootlegged out to the right after play action but Witten didn't get the key seal block on Parker the DE. The 250 lb. Parker came free with nothing but 5 yards of grass and bad intentions between him and our QB. Romo pumped, cocked the ball back again and was in his throwing motion. There were 2 receivers and 1 RB in patterns outside the hashmarks to Romo's side BUT there were 5 Eagles defenders in that same space. Romo doesn't make the bad decision throw. Instead, in that split second with Parker closing fast, he pulls the ball down, spins his back to Parker to protect the ball and minimizes the damage by taking the smart sack.
The Aftermath - 2 more plays, we punt and the Eagles start their drive from their 21. On 3rd down, McNabb throws a bad pass to Maclin who tips it and it's INTERCEPTED by Sensabaugh. Romo and the offense come back out to a short field and turn it into 7 points.
Sack 2 - 3rd and 8 from our 48. Romo's in shotgun with 2 TE's on Romo's blindside for max protect. Witten and Bennett double teamed the DE. Kosier took on Babin the DT and it looked like he thought he'd have help from Adams who ended up helping Witten and Bennett to triple team the DT. Babin beat Kosier one-on-one and put quick pressure on Romo which probably surprised him considering we were in max protect with 7 guys to block 5 rushers (4 guys to block 2 rushers on his blindside). We were expecting a heavy blitz that never came. Philly only sent 1 and left 6 in coverage. Since we were in max protect we only had 2 WR's on patterns and 1 RB for the check down. 3 pass receivers, 6 pass defenders...do the math. Romo moved right to avoid the quick pressure but again, avoids the bad decision throw, minimizes the damage and takes the smart sack.
The Aftermath - We punt and create a long field for Philly who start from their 16. They drive but the D tightens up and holds the Eagles to a FG.
Sack 3 - 1st and 10 from the PHI 17. Philly sends another blitz and the safety gets to Romo on this one. Romo takes the smart sack here and does 2 things as a result. First, he doesn't force a bad throw in the red zone and 2 he only loses 4 yards to minimize the loss in field position (he lost 7 yards on each of his 2 previous sacks).
The Aftermath - Romo comes back for another play and on 3rd and 14 completes a screen pass to Ogletree for 17 yards. The drive comes up short but we end the half with a Folk FG.
Sack 4 - 3rd and 17 from our 39. You knew the blitz was coming. Trent Cole gets into some funky stance, with his head about 2 inches from the ground like he's grazing on turf. Instead, he ate up Adams who really never had much of a chance on this one with no help. Cole got to Romo who again takes the smart sack, protects the ball, doesn't make the bad decision pass and minimizes the damage.
The Aftermath - We punt and Philly starts the drive from their 23. On the first play, Jenkins INTERCEPTS a pass intended for Maclin. The offense comes back out to another short field and turns it into 3 points.
You'll appreciate this stat.
Romo ended up with a very quiet 307 yards passing in the face of HEAVY, HEAVY pressure. The Eagles D has only allowed one other 300 yard passer so far this season...Drew Brees. Prior to that, you'd have to go all the way back to week 2 of last season before you find another QB who threw for 300 yards on this D and it was Romo in that wild MNF game. Let that sink in for a sec.
Romo keeps his head under pressure....and the blog doesn't call for his.
Last night, Romo accepted the fact that taking a sack wasn't the worst thing that can happen when the protection breaks down...as a matter of fact, there are times when it's actually the smart play. No Houdini escape attempts, no high risk throws into coverage, just take the smart sack, come back for another play and keep your ST and Defense out of a bad situation so that they can do their jobs. If he can continue to keep his head like he did last night and avoid those costly, momentum changing turnovers, I think we'll see more good things from Romo and this team. Heck, I may even find myself cheering, "Way to take that sack Romo!" during a game and I'll bet you will too.