IRVING, Texas -- It is easy to second-guess Tony Romo's fatal interception from a fan and media perspective in the fourth quarter of the Dallas Cowboys' gut-busting loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
But coach Jason Garrett did not second-guess the decision.
"You know, I think when you evaluate that, he probably should have come down and thrown the ball to the back," Garrett said. "It’s a play that we know. We’ve seen him make throws like that, in between defenders in the zone, a lot. He made a few of them in this ballgame. But I think when you reflect back on it, you say, when you felt that a little bit of pressure on your left-hand side, kind of slide in the pocket, find DeMarco Murray. It was second and I think 14 or 16 at the time, cut the distance in half, make it a manageable third down and then go from there. You know, those plays happen in split seconds, and you saw something that he liked. He cut it loose. Their defender made a good play. It was a difference-making play of the game."
Romo stepped up in the pocket while looking to his left, Murray was in that direction running across uncovered. But Escobar was across the middle of the field to Romo's right. Romo tried to fire a pass to an open Escobar but linebacker Danny Trevathan made a diving grab of the pass with 1:57 to play in the game.
Garrett was asked about left guard Ronald Leary being pushed back into the pocket slightly as part of the reason for the pick but the coach said it had nothing to do with it. As Romo was making the throw, he lost his footing on the follow through, tripping on the foot of left tackle Tyron Smith, who was getting pushed by linebacker Adrian Robinson. Escobar's route across the middle was also questioned as a bad route.
“I thought it was quarterback-friendly," Garrett said. "I thought the guy made a good play. It was very similar to the one that Escobar caught earlier and the middle of the field was open. Against that particular coverage, you want to bend it across and then he can flatten it. He said he was going to flatten it and the guy made a good play coming up underneath him."
After the interception, Murray walks off the field with his hands up looking toward the sidelines. Garrett would not get into specifics as to the progressions of the play but repeated Murray should have gotten the pass.
"It depends on what the coverage is," Garrett said. "He was part of the vertical progression. It was a viable place to throw the ball versus that coverage. Now you got to see … There’s a great expression: It’s not necessarily what the coverage is, it’s how they play the coverage. At the end of the day, I think Tony probably would say, 'I should’ve thrown the ball to the back.' "