Steve Beuerlein readily admits he’s been critical of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo over the years, but after Sunday’s come-from-behind win over the Lions – Dallas trailed by two touchdowns in the second half before winning, 24-20 – Beuerlein was more than happy to give Romo his due.
“I’ve been pretty critical of him over the years,” the CBS Sports NFL analyst admitted on Tiki and Tierney. “I’ve always really liked Tony Romo, (but) he had that reputation and never could find a way in the big moments to play big and find a way to get it done at the end of the ball game. And boy, yesterday was just a classic example of him stepping up. This whole year has been one of those magical years for Tony to this point. I don’t know if it goes beyond this week, but what a great year it’s been for him and to show up and play big in several big games this year.”
Romo finished 19-of-31 for 293 yards and two touchdowns against Detroit, including the game-winning toss to Terrance Williams with 2:32 to go.
“(The Cowboys’ running game has) taken the pressure off of Tony to have to win these ball games, but he’s stepped up big when he’s had to step up and just played so consistently,” Beuerlein said. “So I’m happy for him.”
And then there’s Andy Dalton. The Cincinnati quarterback turned in yet another postseason clunker on Sunday, finishing an uninspired 18-of-35 for 155 yards in a 26-10 loss to the Colts in Indianapolis. The Bengals were held scoreless in the second half, as Kevin Huber punted eight times for 380 yards.
“At this time of year, your quarterback doesn’t necessarily have to go out and win the ball game every time if you’re on a good team, but he’s got to play well to give you a chance to win,” Beuerlein said. “But the numbers and the lack of any kind of spark in that offense yesterday – and especially in the second half when they had to get it done – it just, to me, spoke volumes. This is a $100-million quarterback you got right there that just didn’t step up and make any plays at any point in that ball game. You can make all the excuses in the world. You can say A.J. Green wasn’t there. You can say Gresham wasn’t there. The bottom line is, you still got to find a way to make plays – and Dalton didn’t do that at all yesterday.”
Dalton is now 0-4 in the playoffs. Another $100-million quarterback, Jay Cutler, hasn’t made the playoffs since 2010.
Will either of these guys be back with their respective teams next season?
“I wouldn’t be surprised either way,” Beuerlein said. “I think you can make a case for cutting ties completely with either one of those guys based on what they’ve done and the money you’ve got invested in them and whether or not you think they can ever find a way to get themselves over that hump or to earn the respect of their teammates back. Or (you might say), ‘We got so much invested in these guys, we got to give him another chance.’ I think you can make a case either way for it, and I think you can have supporters and detractors either way.
“They both have had their chances to grow and mature and develop,” Beuerlein continued. “We just haven’t seen what we needed to see at this point.”