IRVING, Texas -- The buzz surrounding whether Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo knew how many downs he had left at the end of Sunday's game was explained by team public relations director Rich Dalrymple on Tuesday.
After Romo threw an incomplete pass to Sam Hurd on fourth down with one second remaining, video footage showed Romo motioning to the sidelines that he had one more down available. He held up three fingers as if to indicate it was third down.
Cowboys officials said that wasn't the case. In fact, Romo told his teammates in the huddle before the final play that it was fourth down.
"As Tony was walking off the field after the fourth down play, he saw that the down marker on the Dallas sideline read '3,'" Dalrymple said after speaking to Romo on Tuesday afternoon. "As it turned out, the marker was in the process of being changed, sequentially, from the number '4' to the number '1' for the Broncos ensuing possession. The marker on the Cowboys side read '3' temporarily. When he saw the '3,' he thought there might have been the possibility of an error on the down count."
The Cowboys had burned their second down by spiking the ball to stop the clock. On third and fourth downs, Romo threw to Hurd in the end zone, but Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey broke up both tries, denying the Cowboys of a potential tying touchdown.
On Monday, Cowboys coach Wade Phillips dismissed any notion that Romo didn't know how many downs there were. Phillips told a reporter to ask Romo about it.
Calvin Watkins covers the NFL for ESPNDallas.com.