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December 24, 2012

Garrett doesn't put the loss on Romo, but acknowledges third-down problems

For the third time in four December games this year, Tony Romo had a 100-plus quarterback rating.

He had a 123.8 on Sunday against the Saints.

But for the first time, Romo and the Cowboys lost a December game this year.

Coach Jason Garrett did not put the loss on the quarterback, although he acknowledged problems on some third-down throws.

“I thought he played pretty well, I really did,” Garrett said. “I thought he made a lot of really good decisions in the game, made some big-time throws throughout the ballgame. We’ll go back and keep looking at those third downs. We’ve been one of the better third-down teams in the league of late, and unfortunately a few of those weren’t converted. I think some of that was him, some of that was on the other end of it. We just need to make sure we clean that up.

“Other than those third-down situations, I thought he played really, really well in the ballgame.”

Romo and receiver Dez Bryant failed to connect on a pair of third-down slants. One came at the end of the first half and led to a late possession for the Saints, which they used for a field goal. Another came in overtime, forcing the Cowboys to punt.

“It was going to be a bang-bang throw and catch,” Garrett said of the play in overtime, asked if he was pleased with the route Bryant ran. “He has to get in there and cross that guy’s face. So that happens a lot in football. Dez usually does a great job of that. The location of the ball matters. Him being strong going down in there with the right kind of an angle to make sure he’s across that guy’s face.

“So I’m not really answering your question, but that’s what you’re trying to coach in that situation.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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