ARLINGTON, Texas -- Playing on the big screen high inside Cowboys Stadium, the impossibly big screen, was Tony Romo's shoulder being driven into the ground and planted like a tulip. Everyone watched in sparkling HD.
A stadium crammed with 91,000 people suddenly fell silent. For the moment there was no music. No dancing. No cheerleader booty shaking. Tens of thousands of necks craned upward as the screen briefly showed Romo writhing on the ground in pain.
Romo stayed down for several minutes and then slowly left the field. He wanted to stay in the game despite momentarily being unable to fully breathe. On the Cowboys bench, he sat, and was swarmed by seven members of the Dallas training staff. Seven. It was as if the president had gone down.
After a few more minutes Romo got up, put his helmet on, and marched toward the sideline. He was inserting himself back into the game. One of the trainers chased Romo from behind and grabbed his arm. A brief discussion ensued and soon Romo was escorted back to the bench. He tossed his helmet in frustration and afterward went to the locker room for tests, which revealed a fractured left clavicle.
"When he hit the ground," Linebacker Michael Boley said, "I heard he let out a little scream. So I knew something was up."
The ugly truth in a brutal 41-35 Cowboys loss to New York was that before Romo's departure the Dallas offense struggled. The defense snagged three Giants turnovers early but only managed 13 points. Miles Austin had two critical drops and was a non-factor. Marion Barber is a shell of himself.
Jon Kitna replaced Romo. Cliff Lee would've been a better option. Kitna was a potted plant in the 1990s and, unfortunately, quarterbacks do not get better with age.
Not even the spectacular kick return of Dez Bryant -- who runs like a lion that just spotted prey in the distance -- could stop what will be a painful, slow demise for Dallas.
|New York Giants|
|Despite two turnovers in the first four offensive plays and facing a 10-0 deficit, the Giants stuck to their plan and moved the ball with great efficiency. They also exploited the Cowboys’ injuries on both sides of the ball. The Giants were dominating on defense once Cowboys QB Tony Romo left the game with a broken clavicle. Eli Manning tied a career-high with four touchdown passes, spreading the ball around to Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham.|
|Everything changed for the Cowboys when Tony Romo went down with a broken collarbone to likely end his season. With Jon Kitna taking over, the Cowboys couldn’t move the ball with any consistency and kept the defense on the field too long. All the excitement generated with an early 10-0 lead and later a 20-7 lead on Dez Bryant’s punt return, it ended with Romo’s injury. At 1-5, the season likely has gone that way, too.|
|By Nick Eatman|
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"Well that's one word for it," said Dallas coach Wade Phillips when asked if he was bewildered by the turn of events in the Cowboys' 1-5 start.
Dallas will now have to fight to become bowl eligible.
The Cowboys are done. They might've been done even if Romo wasn't injured, but Romo being lost likely for at least six weeks was the unfortunate exclamation point.
"I'm going to work my butt off to get back on the field," Romo said.
Sorry. It's too late.
Phillips ... pack your bags. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett ... please bring your playbook to security. Jerry Jones ... pick up the phone and call Bill Cowher. It's over for this edition of the Cowboys. They're done.
Dallas, for this year, is a baseball town.
The Cowboys are doomed because yet again they were the sloppiest team in football. Tom Coughlin so out-matched Phillips it was like watching a small child take on a computer at chess.
Indeed, the hit on Romo was further indictment of the Dallas head coach. Boley blasted through untouched. Someone clearly blew an assignment but that's been the trademark of the Phillips era. Some player is always messing something up.
By the third quarter, boos rang out across the stadium. A crowd that was shell-shocked became angry. Everyone knew what they were watching: a dead football team walking.
"It looked like the team let down" following Romo's injury, Phillips explained.
Dallas made the game close and that seemed to provide some encouragement. Phillips kept talking about how the Cowboys fought back. There are miracles. Maybe Romo is out only a month and in that time Kitna becomes Mike Vick -- minus the dogs -- and the Cowboys win most of the games Romo is out. Then Romo returns and the Cowboys get rolling.
Or maybe not. This is likely it for Dallas.
Is Lee pitching yet?