The Cowboys gave Orton a three-year, $10.5 million deal last year because they wanted an experienced, savvy veteran backup for Tony Romo. He looked like a rookie while being intercepted twice on eight attempts Saturday.
“He’s typically pretty clean with the ball,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “He has a good understanding of our offense. Those are two bad decisions, though.”
Orton, who was 4-of-8 for 36 yards in three scoreless series, did not address the media before leaving the locker room. However, Garrett explained in detail Orton’s mistakes on picks by cornerback Jerraud Powers and rookie safety Tony Jefferson.
“The first interception, I think he thought it was two-deep coverage where they plan man underneath, and what happened was the corner to their boundary made a man turn and then he came back and intercepted from outside in,” Garrett said. “That’s a play that sometimes happens in this league. Those corners are good at making those plays, and when you have out-breaking routes to inside receivers against rolled corners, it’s a recipe for disaster. And that’s what happened on that one.
“I think the look was right (on the second interception). It was a single-high defense and we tried to throw a seam to Dwayne Harris, and I just think he laid the ball a little too much and the single-high safety came over and made a play.”
Garrett’s point that Orton, a former starter with the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, is typically a solid decision-maker is backed by statistical evidence. Orton has a career interception rate of 2.6 percent. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub are the only active starting quarterbacks with lower career interception rates.