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Ball-control Falcons limit Romo’s time

By Charean Williams, Fort Worth Star-Telegram –

ATLANTA — All Tony Romo could do was stand on the sideline, baseball cap on his head, and watch as time ticked away.

After driving the Cowboys 78 yards in only six plays and 2:28 to draw within three points, Romo needed a three-and-out he didn’t get from his defense. Instead, by the time he got the ball back, the Cowboys had only 17 seconds and were in need of a touchdown.

It wasn’t enough time.

“I think anytime you’re in that situation, you want to obviously get the ball back with a chance,” Romo said. “It’s tough. That’s why they’re a good football team and tough to beat at home. They proved it when they were able to run the clock out at the end.”

Romo was walking gingerly in the locker room afterward. He said he “tweaked” his back on the last play, trying to scramble around to keep the Cowboys’ last-gasp hopes alive. He completed a 39-yarder to Felix Jones to the Atlanta 21, but time ran out on the Cowboys in a 19-13 loss.

At 3-5, time is running out on their season as well.

“It’s about winning and losing,” Romo said. “We’ll go back and look at each play and access what needs to be done to be better. We left some opportunities out there tonight. When you go against a good football team like that who does a lot of little things well and puts themselves in position, you can’t really make the mistakes that cost you. In this game we had some key third-down plays we didn’t convert on. I know we had a couple of drops and we had a short-yardage play that we had an opportunity to get. That stuff comes back to haunt you. You need those plays.”

Romo completed 25 of 35 passes for 321 yards with a touchdown, no interceptions and a 109.3 passer rating. He didn’t have a turnover for only the second time in eight games in what was one of his best games this season.

But it wasn’t enough.

The Cowboys, who had been averaging 19.6 points per game, reached the end zone only once and that came with 5:21 left in the fourth quarter. Romo hit Kevin Ogletree for a 21-yard touchdown that drew the Cowboys to within 16-13 and gave them new life.

“That was just all Tony keeping the ball play alive,” said Ogletree, who had three catches for 96 yards and a touchdown, “and me trying to stay alive for him.”

But the Cowboys died a slow death as the defense couldn’t get off the field.

“I was surprised that we didn’t get more touchdowns,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “…But I want to give them some credit. They’re a tough team here at home to get the edge on and I had hoped, thought we had enough going for us that we had gotten the ball back at the end that we might have been able to drive down there with enough time. That didn’t happen, but that is the way I had thought it might go at the end.”

Romo fell to 19-3 as a starter in November games. He is 31-32 in all other months.

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