Tony Romo, off to a great start in 2014, has led the Cowboys to an unexpected 6-1 record and first place in the NFC east leading into last night’s Monday Night Football game. Unfortunately, Romo and the Cowboys experienced an all-too-familiar scenario, dealing with injuries and turnovers en route to a loss to a struggling Washington Redskins team.
While last night’s game could easily have been just a bump in the road, experienced by good teams every year, Dallas’ fan base could have cause for concern.
Down 10-7 in the third quarter, Romo took a sack from Keenan Robinson and stayed on the turf, clearly in pain. Backup QB Brandon Weeden entered the game while Romo was checked out in the locker room. Weeden led the the Cowboy’s to 10 points and a 17-17 tie.
Romo wasn’t done though. Coming out of the locker room with under four minutes to go, Romo made his return with 1:27 left on the clock. And immediately fumbled on the three yard line. Fortunately the Cowboys recovered, but they were unable to mount a scoring drive in regulation.
Romo looked uncomfortable in the fourth quarter and overtime, throwing some ugly passes and unable to mount any sustained offense. The Redskins, led by Colt McCoy drove down the field to open overtime, scoring a field goal. On the ensuing drive Romo couldn’t get the team moving, throwing incomplete passes on third and fourth downs to seal the loss.
While Romo is clearly the team’s leader, the timing of his return raised some eyebrows. Sports Illustrated writer Chris Burke even questioned if Weeden would have given the Cowboys a better shot at winning.
While this loss doesn’t affect the Cowboys standing atop the NFC East — Romo and the Cowboys are still half a game ahead of Philadelphia — there is cause for concern. Dallas has made a habit of strong play during the season’s first three months, only to derail in December.
Romo spoke to ESPN about the team’s repeated collapse last year following a close win over Washington last year.
“I know in some ways we’ve gotten hit with just the fact of losing the last couple of years in the final game. I think we’re the only team that keeps getting themselves in position to win the NFC East every year — that’s a credit. It’s also a negative in the fact that we didn’t do it the last couple of years.”
One loss does not a collapse make, but Cowboy’s fans certainly can’t be blamed for sweating this result a bit. This Cowboys team has looked dominant at times, average at others. Until Tony Romo and the ‘Boys prove themselves beyond Thanksgiving, Dallas fans won’t be sleeping easy.
[Photo courtesy of USA Today]