Believe it or not, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has thrown five interceptions in a single game before. And to make that fact even odder, the Cowboys actually won that game, a 25-24 October 2007 victory over the Buffalo Bills. That was a Monday night game as well, but things didn't go so well for the Cowboys this time, as the Chicago Bears ran them out of their own stadium with a 34-18 thrashing.
To be fair, not all of the interceptions were Romo's fault -- he and his receivers, especially Dez Bryant, were off all night, and there were several instances (interceptions and not) when Romo's targets appeared to be in the wrong places. On two occasions, Romo had to tell Bryant, whose physical talent is not matched by his football acumen, that he would continue to throw to Bryant. That included a 25-yard interception return for touchdown by cornerback Charles Tillman in the first quarter, when Romo threw across his body, and Bryant was completely out of place.
It also didn't help that the Cowboys had no running game to speak of -- they ran the ball just 14 times for 41 yards, which put the burden on their quarterback. Romo wound up completing 31 of 43 passes for 307 yards and one touchdown to his five picks.
"Well, you have to get over it -- it's just going to suck for a few days now, obviously," Romo said after the game. "It's going to sit there in your stomach and just eat at you. In different situations out there where you're trying to do too much and help out different areas, I think that it's going to catch up to you at some point in the National Football League. I'm going to have to reassess a couple of things that are happening and make sure that they don't happen again."
"We caught the ones that were thrown to us," Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "That's a good thing. We got pressure when we needed to, and they quit trying to run the ball in the second half. So, our defensive linemen just pinned their ears back and went."
Enough of the bad plays were Romo's fault, as he continued his practice of making throws when he shouldn't especially under pressure from a ravenous Bears pass rush. On one of those picks, Romo was popped in the pocket by Bears defensve lineman Henry Melton, the ball squirted out of Romo's hands, and Bears linebacker Lance Briggs returned the ball 74 yards for a touchdown.
"It's been like this at a time where we had a game where we had turnovers last year," Romo said. "We just have to make a conscious effort to make sure and control that aspect, and saying that I can't try and do too much and I think that I tried to do that too much tonight and going forward I just have to do my job, and I will."
Late in the game, perhaps to preserve what was left of Romo's psyche, he was replaced by backup Kyle Orton, who threw a garbage-time touchdown to Witten with 34 seconds left in the game. In that odd win over the Bills, tight end Jason Witten was the target on three of Romo's five picks. At least this time, Witten was able to bounce back from an iffy season complicated by a spleen injury -- he caught 13 passes for 112 yards.
Bryant caught eight passes for 105 yards, but he was targeted 13 times. Receiver Kevin Ogletree also let a ball from Romo bounce off his chest, and that pass was intercepted by Bears safety Major Wright after it flew off Ogletree into the air. Romo's fifth and final pick looked like a forced throw to receiver Miles Austin, and Bears cornerback D.J. Moore had the easiest interception he'll ever see.
The Bears' final tally looked like this: Wright had two interceptions, Tillman had one, Briggs had one, and Moore had one. All Tony Romo could take out of the game was a major headache.
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