Trent Dilfer: Tony Romo made terrible decision on final drive

Tony Romo deserves a big share of the blame for the Cowboys’ clock-management crisis in Sunday’s loss, according to one Super Bowl championship quarterback.

ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, the Ravens’ quarterback during their title season, didn’t excuse coach Jason Garrett’s clock mismanagement with 21 seconds and one timeout remaining. However, Dilfer believes the blame game should begin with Romo’s ill-advised decision to throw a short pass to a well-covered Dez Bryant in the middle of the field.

Cornerback Cary Williams, who was playing off man coverage, tackled Bryant as soon as the ball arrived. The Cowboys waited 15 seconds to call a timeout -- while receivers Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree jogged back to the line of scrimmage -- and didn't get another play off before Dan Bailey's missed 51-yard field goal attempt.

“The bottom line is, if you’re Tony Romo, you can’t throw a 2-yard completion in the middle of the field in that situation,” Dilfer said Tuesday on ESPN Radio’s “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd. “Time is more important than downs in that situation. What I mean by that is, time is paramount, completions aren’t.

“You only throw the ball to complete it in the middle of the field if it’s worthwhile, if it’s going to make a significant difference in field position. You don’t make any contested throws in the middle of the field in that situation.

“It blows my mind that he threw that ball. And every quarterback I talked to yesterday said, ‘Why aren’t people talking about the right thing?’ Chuck the thing out of bounds, eat seven seconds and get two more plays.”