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A night of some perhaps.
It was perhaps a matter of time before the Tony Romo’s surgically repaired back would give out and cause him to miss playing time.
That occurred with just under eight minutes left in the third quarter of Monday night’s game against the Washington Redskins. Romo was in obvious pain and went to the locker room for most of the second half.
He returned, but he was unable to lead Dallas to an overtime win. Washington kicked a field goal and then stopped Dallas on its only overtime possession to pull out the 20-17 win. The loss dropped the Cowboys to 6-2.
Perhaps it was a matter of time before DeMarco Murray’s fumbles became especially costly.
He had a great catch-and-run early in the second quarter, but after gaining 36 yards inside the Washington 10, he fumbled for the fifth time this season. At the time, Dallas trailed 3-0 and looked like it would take the lead.
Although the Cowboys went into the half with a 7-3 lead, a touchdown after the Murray play could have allowed the Cowboys build a more sizable advantage before halftime.
Instead, the Cowboys four-point lead turned into a three-point deficit when Washington took the second-half kickoff and marched 80 yards for a go-ahead score.
Which leads us to the final perhaps—
Perhaps it was time that this no-name defense could not save the day.
With Romo heading to the locker room, the defense forced a three-and-out. However, after the Cowboys tied the game at 10 in the third quarter, the defense looked vulnerable.
DeSean Jackson burned the Dallas secondary for a 45-yard gain on the final play of the third quarter. It was his second gain of more than 40 yards during the game, and the second play set up a touchdown run by quarterback Colt McCoy.
Yes, that Colt McCoy. The former Texas Longhorn, Cleveland Brown, and Redskin third-stringer sliced up the Dallas defense for nearly 300 passing yards. Washington entered the game with one of the worst third-down percentages in the league. Against the Cowboys late in the game, however, the Redskins converted a number of key third downs.
Thanks to backup quarterback Brandon Weeden, the Cowboys stayed in the game in the fourth quarter. He led the Cowboys on two second-half scoring drives. Dallas forced a Washington punt at the two-minute warning with the game tied at 17.
A bonus perhaps—it was perhaps through the miracle of modern medicine that Tony Romo left the locker room and reentered the game to try to engineer a game-winning drive.
Whether Romo should have returned will be a point of debate all week. At that point, Weeden had led the Cowboys on two scoring drives. Romo was obviously not going to be mobile in his condition.
Facing heavy pressure with just over a minute to play, Romo fumbled the ball at the Dallas 5. Though Murray recovered and Dallas managed a first down to keep the drive alive, the Cowboys could not move the ball past their own 28. In fact, on 3rd and 1 from the 28, Romo was called for intentional grounding, forcing the Cowboys to punt.
The Redskins had little trouble moving the ball 58 yards in overtime to set up what would be the game-winning field goal.
Dallas could not manage a single first down on its drive, ending the game.
The Cowboys still lead the NFC East by a half-game, but a win would have given Dallas some breathing room. The Cowboys now have a short week before facing the Arizona Cardinals at home on Sunday afternoon.
Tony Romo is not likely to play in the Cowboys’ first preseason game on Thursday night as he tries to stay healthy for the team’s season-opener.
If he can stay healthy during his eighth full season as a starter, Romo could break a significant franchise career record.
He already has the most career touchdown passes, and his career 95.8 passer rating his higher than any other starter in team history.
The next mark would be career passing yards. He currently has thrown for 29,565 yards, putting him 3,377 behind Troy Aikman. The only time Romo has thrown fewer than that since 2007 was 2010, when he was limited to six games because of an injury.
Here is a list of the top 10 Dallas passers by career passing yards.
It will take Romo at least two seasons to surpass Aikman for most career attempts and completions.
The Cowboys are 2-2 for the third consecutive year. The team is 18-18 since the start of the 2011 season. Heck, the team is 130-130 since the 1997 season.
If everything in the NFL, and especially the NFC East, remains the same for the rest of the season, the Cowboys could make the playoffs even with an 8-8 record.
In fact, if the regular season ended today, the Cowboys would host a playoff game as the NFC East Champions. The team would play the Chicago Bears, who are currently 3-1.
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As for individual players, Tony Romo is on pace to 4,060 yards, which would mark the fourth season during the past five years where Romo would surpass the 4,000-yard mark.
Romo is also on pace to throw 32 touchdown passes with only 4 interceptions. (And the team will only finish with an 8-8 record?) Romo’s interception rate of 0.7% is lower than his total for any previous season. He also has a completion percentage of 72.4%.
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DeMarco Murray is on pace to rush for 1,424 yards. That would rank as the eighth-highest total in team history. It would also mark the first time since 2006 that a Dallas back has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark.
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Dez Bryant is on pace to catch 16 touchdown passes, which would break Terrell Owens’ record of 15 set in 2007. Bryant is on pace to have 1,128 receiving yards.
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Sean Lee now has eight career interceptions and two returns for touchdowns. He is clearly one of the biggest playmakers on the current team.
How does this total rank among other linebackers in team history?
Below is a list showing linebackers with at least 7 career interceptions.
Note that Lee is only on in his fourth season. By Jordan’s fourth season in 1966, he had only 5 career interceptions with 1 touchdown. Howley also had more interceptions later in his career and had only 8 picks during the first 6 years of his career, including 2 years in Chicago.
I addressed this briefly before, but Tony Romo is going to wind up owning several team passing records by the time he is finished. The next major mark in his reach is the career record for most TD passes.
Of course, each of those QBs played in many more games than Romo—165 for Aikman, 166 for White, and 131 for Staubach.
But, of course, Romo played in different era with very different rules than those three.
Below is a complete list of the 45 players who have thrown at least one touchdown pass.
Tony Romo's QB rating vs. the Giants was 129.5. That is the 8th best game of his career in those terms. http://t.co/0be2YhO7
— kickholder (@kickholder) September 8, 2012
That ranks as his 8th best game in terms of passer rating. Here is a list of those 8 games.
148.9 (vs. Tampa Bay, 2006: 22-29, 306 Yds., 5 TD, 0 Int.)
148.4 (vs. Buffalo, 2011: 23-26, 270 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
141.7 (vs. Philadelphia, 2007: 20-25, 324 Yds., 3 TD, 1 Int.)
141.6 (vs. Atlanta, 2009: 21-29, 311 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
141.3 (vs. New York Giants, 2011: 21-31, 321 Yds., 4 TD, 0 Int.)
140.6 (vs. Tampa Bay, 2009: 16-27, 353 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
133.9 (vs. Tampa Bay, 2011: 23-30, 249 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
129.5 (vs. New York Giants, 2012: 22-29, 307 Yds., 3 TD, 1 Int.)
Interestingly, it is not his best game against the Giants in this regard. His performance on December 11, 2011 at home against New York was better on paper.
The difference: when the game was on the line against the Giants in 2011, Romo and Miles Austin could not hook up on a pass that would have put the game away.
On Wednesday, with the game on the line, Romo made a great throw to Kevin Ogletree on third down to secure the win.
This list gives us reason to look forward to September 23, when the Cowboys host Tampa Bay. In three starts against the Buccaneers, his total numbers have been 61 completions on 86 attempts for 908 yards with 11 TDs and 0 interceptions. That’s good enough for a three-game passer rating of 144.7.