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Did Cowboys intentionally take ball out of Romo's hands?

Every Sunday night, Around The League takes a closer look at four of the day's most interesting games. We call it The Filthy Four ... mostly for alliteration purposes.

No faith in Romo?

Jason Garrett's conservative play calling on the Cowboys' final two possessions Sunday seemed to be influenced by his quarterback's recent struggles, Jeff Darlington writes. More...

Good news, bad news for Romo

Congratulations to Tony Romo, who might have dropped a heartbreaker to the Patriots, but at least has the following things working for him:

1) His lungs are (probably) not deflated.
2) No one will say the loss was his fault.

Dallas has been so engulfed by Romo drama this season that everything else seems to feed off it at this point. The play-calling of Jason Garrett is a perfect example. Needing just one first down to put the Patriots in a desperate situation late in the fourth quarter, Dallas opted to run the ball three times, taking the ball out of Romo's hands and giving Tom Brady one more chance to do his Montana thing. Now, we understand Rob Ryan and his defense had played well and deserved the benefit of the doubt, but did anyone really think the Patriots weren't going to march down the field there? You might as well have put a John Candy cardboard cutout in the far end zone. Garrett deserves the goat horns this time, but his decision-making process was undoubtedly affected by the shaky track record of his quarterback. Which means -- oh boy -- it was Romo's fault. Sorry, dude.

Get Vince McMahon on the phone

There was plenty of excitement Sunday, but nothing approached the exact moment Jim Schwartz caught up to Jim Harbaugh at around the 15-yard line in Detroit. Anything seemed possible at that point -- chair shot to the back, tombstone pile driver, leg sweep into a Sharpshooter. The wrestling analogies are flowing because it felt like a WWE moment -- one exuberant victor making his way back to the dressing room, the vanquished foe chasing behind, unwilling to accept defeat and the insult that followed. In the end, neither man came off particularly well: Harbaugh was the rah-rah college coach without the proper Belichickian stoicism, Schwartz the sore loser who couldn't deal with his counterpart acting like Rick James on New Year's Eve '82. You won't hear us complain about it, though. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. If these two teams meet in the playoffs, the field should be surrounded by a steel cage.

Hey, Donovan, you ever seen 'Old Yeller'?

What can we do as fans to expedite the end of the Donovan McNabb era? Can we start a petition? Do people even do the petition thing anymore? Obviously, we need to think this stuff out more thoroughly. All the signs of McNabb's fast decline were in full focus during the Vikings' loss to the Bears on Sunday night: Poor mechanics, low throws and a general lethargy that trickled downward. (Christian Ponder came on in garbage time, but we're promised nothing at this point.) McNabb has had such an unusual career in that even when he was a legitimately great player, there were plenty of people who argued he was a bum. Now that he's actually terrible, it kind of feels like he got a raw deal. And with that, we've used up our annual allotment of sympathy for multimillionaire professional athletes.

And now for some absurd, premature nonsense ...

We're sure Brett Favre will wish a Sean Payton-like leg injury upon us for saying this, but the Packers have a reasonably good shot of running the table this season. We're convinced Aaron Rodgers and Co. could've put up a 60-burger on the lowly Rams if they wanted to, and going forward the schedule isn't exactly treacherous. Of the 10 remaining contests, we count only three legitimate toss-ups: Week 9 at 4-1 San Diego, Week 12 at 5-1 Detroit, Week 14 at 4-2 Giants. There are four home games you can classify as worthy challenges: Week 11 vs. 4-2 Tampa Bay, Week 14 vs. 4-2 Oakland, Week 16 vs. 3-3 Bears, Week 17 vs. 5-1 Detroit. The rest? Home and home with 1-5 Vikings (Weeks 7 and 10), Week 15 at 2-3 Kansas City. Even their bye week is ideally slotted at Week 8. You're telling us it's not possible? And now Cheeseheads will wish a Sean Payton-like leg injury upon us for jinxing them.

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