Shutdown Corner - NFL

The season is young, but so far, it hasn't been kind to Tony Romo(notes).

He lost to the New York Giants in the first game at Jerry's new palace. Out of the clear blue sky, Cowboys legend Tony Dorsett hammered him. He didn't play well against Carolina. The Cowboys lost to the Broncos. And now, it looks like Romo will take additional humiliation for not knowing it was fourth down on a key play.

Check out the video below, from Romo's teammates all head for the sidelines, but you can clearly see Romo trying to herd them back towards the line of scrimmage, like "Where the heck are you guys going?" Confused, he then holds up three fingers to the ref, apparently asking if the play that just happened was third down.

It was not. Everyone was walking to the sidelines for a reason. That was fourth down. Romo had apparently forgotten about the spike play to stop the clock a couple of downs ago.

Here's the thing, though: Even if Romo was completely unaware of the down, it wouldn't have made any difference.

First of all, Romo doesn't call the plays. The people who did call them, from the booth or the sidelines, surely knew it was fourth down. And it's not like Romo wasn't trying to score on what he thought was third down. It's not like he took the snap and said to himself, "Eh, it's only third down, so we'll just throw to Sam Hurd(notes) here, and maybe then we'll really try on fourth down."

That said, though, quarterbacks should probably know the down and distance at all times. It's also the last thing Romo needs in a season where he's already being bludgeoned in the media for any number of things. Romo could really, really use a big game against Kansas City this weekend.

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