Cowboys Win Ugly, But Lose Romo To Injury


The Dallas Cowboys won a bizarre and ugly game in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. A stellar defensive performance and timely special teams touchdown were overshadowed when QB Tony Romo was lost to a broken clavicle in the second half.

Well, Cowboys’ fans, this is what we’ve been fearing. A season that started with so much promise has been sullied by what may be a catastrophic injury to the one player they could least afford to lose. No Dez Bryant? That can be managed to some extent. No Tony Romo? Not so much.

In a sloppy game marred by penalties and turnovers by both teams, the Cowboy defense turned in a sparkling effort by bottling up Philadelphia RB DeMarco Murray and the rest of the Eagles’ offense for virtually the entire game.

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The Philly boo birds were certainly out in full force as the three-and-outs came early and often. The Dallas defense was in full control and seemed as if they’d read the entire Eagle playbook prior to the game. Credit defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli for having his charges prepared and focused on stopping Philadelphia’s supposed high octane attack.

LB Sean Lee continued to prove how valuable he is when healthy. Seven solo tackles–one for loss–and a critical end zone interception on an awful throw by Eagles’ QB Sam Bradford, capped a game in which Lee was seemingly everywhere.

Yet despite the defense’s stalwart performance, and a blocked punt that provided an always useful scoring punch, the overriding theme of the win is the loss of the Cowboy signal caller.

The knee jerk reaction to Romo’s injury is that this is now a lost season. Without Tony, the Cowboys are lacking their most dynamic offensive player. Granted, Brandon Weeden was solid in relief, going 7-for-7 for 73 yards and a late game-clinching TD, but he was also serviceable in last year’s Washington loss, before a team had a week to game plan for him.

What the Cowboys had in Romo was a quarterback playing the best football of his career. And despite Sunday’s fitful performance, Romo was solid, going 18-of-27 for 195 yards and no interceptions. As dismaying as it was to see him sacked and fumble, the aftermath of watching him writhing in pain on the turf was horrifying to both the team and fans.

What we will have for the next several weeks, is an offensive attack helmed by a backup quarterback that has shown to be mediocre, at best. The running game has been okay, but opposing defenses will be able to load up the box while asking Weeden to beat him with his arm.

The short-term prognosis isn’t good. It will be a tall order for the team to weather the storm while they wait for Romo’s return. The defense will be asked to do more, but that in itself may not be much of a reach given Sunday’s effort.

The running game will be heavily leaned upon, which is a harrowing thought when you consider that, while decent, it certainly hasn’t been the punishing game-changing presence it was last season.

Under normal circumstances, a 2-0 start to the season should be cause for optimism. But if there was ever a day where a win felt like a loss, today was it. We’re about to learn a lot about the makeup of this team. The “Next Man Up” philosophy they talk about will be put to its ultimate test.

The silver lining of this mess is that the NFC East seems to be quite weak this season. If the Cowboys can somehow manage to hover close to .500 in Romo’s absence, a late season return to health might provide the impetus for a playoff push.

In the interim, a season once brimming with promise and visions of Super Bowl glory, is now in serious jeopardy. For the organization and fans, this is very unsettling when you stop and consider the quarterback’s diminishing window.

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