Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys took a huge risk by putting him on the field against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football, but it paid off. That is, if Romo does recover from his punctured lung and broken rib at satisfactory rate, and the gutsy 18-16 win at Cowboys Stadium didn’t set the quarterback back a few yards, or weeks.
The Redskins went soft on Romo during the first half, as he enjoyed good protection, but was clearly far from his best. Second half? They brought the pain, and got four hits and a sack on him. Nothing too out of the ordinary, probably even disappointing for most teams, but with Romo fighting through the pain like that? Every hit count. Tony Romo needed a second pain-killer injection, and the blood stain the appeared on his jersey at some point showed just how badly banged up he really was.
Romo and the Cowboys proved they were fighters last week, beating the 49ers in overtime with a Dan Bailey field goal. Dan Bailey was the entire Dallas Cowboys scoring last night, making six field goals, three of them from over 40 yards. When you’re quarterback and his receivers are banged up, it’s up to running, kicking and defense to deliver. They did. The Bailey – McBriar (best punter in the NFL?) combo made the most of their chances.
Felix Jones had is breakout game of 2011, running for 115 yards and catching for 40. The Cowboys defense sacked Rex Grossman three times, made six tackles for a loss, with DeMarcus Ware, leading the league in sacks, involved of course.
On the other side, the defense did play well, but DeAngelo Hall’s pre-game talk about hurting Tony Romo turned into him getting called for a face-mask foul, leading to his expletive-filled interview after the game. Lets say he wasn’t happy about the call, or the eight-man front the Redskins used on that play. On 3rd and 21, Tony Romo threw a 30 yard pass to Dez Bryant, saving the Cowboys and leading to the winning field goal.
Rex Grossman? Back to his OLD, bad, self. Throwing an interception and a very late fumble and sack that ended the Redskins chances. Look, it’s always easy blaming the quarterback, and the Redskins did have a field goal blocked due to bad handling, but Grossman’s decision making, especially in light of Romo’s heroic performance (got picked once, yeah, but hung in there to make the big play that got the field goal), could cost the Redskins the NFC East down the road.
It wasn’t all roses for Tony Romo, who was frustrated not only with playing like he had a clipped win, but with his Center, Phil Costa, who had quite a few problems with snapping the ball in the Shotgun formation. Felix Jones was playing hurt, Jason Witten was playing hurt, Dez Bryant was playing hurt. Miles Austin was out. A rough night for the Cowboys, and they made it through. You gotta win games like this one. It makes the team better, stronger.
I mean, broken rib, punctured lung, and he’s out there. You’ve got to be willing to put yourself out there for a guy like that – Dez Bryant on Romo and inspiration. Pure will. And nobody in this locker room is surprised. We knew he had that kind of makeup, and when you have a quarterback with that kind of mentality, it’s easy to want to go out there and play for him – Jason Witten.
Jason Garrett was just happy that the Cowboys got to two wins, avoiding the possibility of a 1-7 start that destroyed the Cowboys last year. Looking at all the quarterback injuries around the league – The Indianapolis Colts don’t have an offense without Peyton Manning, the Philadelphia Eagles’ expensive venture could be destroyed due to Vick’s injuries. He should be glad Romo made it out of this game still walking, and smiling.
The Redskins were happy with their defensive effort. They did stop the Cowboys from scoring touchdowns. Not enough, but plenty to learn and built upon. Linebacker London Fletcher – I don’t feel like we took a step back. We held them to six field goals and we needed to make one more play than we made defensively.
The most interesting thing to say came from left tackle Trent Williams, clearly exhausted from trying to contain DeMarcus Ware all night – It’s almost impossible to go out there and dominate him to where he doesn’t make any plays. I felt like I recovered well, but there’s some stuff he did that he didn’t even show on film, a lot of inside moves and stuff. He’s a great, great player.