Injury To Romo Overshadows Cowboys’ Sloppy Victory In Philly
Ineptitude was large and very much in charge on Sunday afternoon at Lioncoln Financial Field. The Cowboys and Eagles, allegedly playing for early-season positioning in the NFC East, were the sole participants of a three-and-a-half hour matinee that a national television audience could only interpret as an exhibition based on the fundamentals of dreadful, awful, heart-breaking, unwatchable football.
When the smoke finally cleared and the game was complete, the Cowboys had outlasted their opponent by a 20-10 margin. But any celebration that may have occurred from what can only be described as a most aesthetically-challenged display of professionalism for the victors was squashed by the news pertaining to the health of their franchise quarterback, Tony Romo.
Romo, after being sacked from behind in the third quarter, was promptly taken to the locker room, where he emerged from a short time afterwards with his arm in a sling. The diagnosis was anything but promising for the immediate future. Romo has a broken clavicle, and could miss anywhere from four-to-ten-to who-knows-how-many weeks. An official timeline for his recovery will be released tomorrow.
There is no bigger damper on a victory than an injury to the starting quarterback. Especially when your team is a flawed one even with him in the lineup.
Right now, Dallas sits on top of the NFC East standings with a 2-0 mark. Washington, winners against St. Louis earlier in the day, are 1-1, while the Giants and Eagles are taking up the rear with very uncomfortable marks of 0-2.
But their lead won’t last long with outings like they had Sunday. A franchise-record 18 accepted penalties slowed the pace of the game significantly, and prevented Dallas from doing what they could have done rather easily; put the game away by halftime. Instead, the score remained close going into the break, with Dallas owning a 6-0 advantage on the scoreboard, a measly total considering the fact that they had owned the ball for more than 23 minutes.
The first touchdown of the contest came on the opening drive of the third quarter when Dallas linebacker Kyle Wilber scooped up a blocked punt off the foot of Eagles punter Donnie Jones and ran the remaining 26 yards to paydirt.
And just when the Cowboys appeared to be on the verge of breaking the game wide open, Romo went down, and stayed down.
With backup Brandon Weeden suddenly in charge, the onus to maintain control of the game fell on the shoulders of the Dallas defense. With an assist from a thoroughly confused Sam Bradford, the Cowboys defense proved up to the challenge, forcing three second-half turnovers that thwarted any notions that Philadelphia had of a comeback.
Sean Lee’s interception in the end-zone ended a 10-play third-quarter drive for the Eagles, and was the signature play on a fine afternoon for the Dallas linebacker that witnessed him make a team-leading 14 tackles.
Cowboys defensive tackle Nick Hayden recovered a fumbled snap two drives later, and safety J.J. Wilcox parlayed a tipped pass into Dallas’ second interception on the day, plus a return of 24 yards.
Weeden provided the dagger three plays later when he connected with wide receiver Terrance Williams for a 42-yard touchdown and a 20-3 advantage.
The cost of victory is somewhat high in the NFL. For the Dallas Cowboys, this Sunday afternoon triumph at the Linc was especially costly. Not only did they give back 142 penalty yards, and more than simply losing some fans through a sloppy showing, the Cowboys find themselves now staring down the barrel of a killer schedule without the face of their franchise.
That’s not fair. But it is reality.
And for some, it will be a reality show even harder to watch than was Sunday’s showcase of professional inelegance.