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Back to Future: Romo's Masterpiece in Opener Spoiled by Week 2 Injury

Editor's Note: The Cowboys suffered their worst season in 25 years, winning just four games. As the team looks to improve in 2016, the writers of will go through each of the 16 games in 2015, picking out both a positive and negative occurrence from every week of the season as the Cowboys try to build for the future.

Game 1: Cowboys 27, Giants 26

The season opener at AT&T Stadium saw Dallas miss opportunities throughout the game, keeping the Giants in control until the final minute. That's when Tony Romo took over, driving the offense down for a game-winning score. His touchdown pass to Jason Witten in the final seconds gave the Cowboys one of their more dramatic victories in recent years.

Encouraging: Considering it was one just two games that Tony Romo both started and finished in 2015, you have to point toward the Cowboys' quarterback as the most encouraging aspect of that win as the team moves into 2016. Certainly the Cowboys have their concerns over Romo's health, considering he's dealt with a back injury in two of the last three years and broke his collarbone twice during this season alone. But when he's healthy, Romo can be masterful. He was in complete control on the Cowboys' final two offensive drives, and ran both of them without Dez Bryant. The way he maneuvered the offense without any timeouts on the final series, scoring a late touchdown and leaving the Giants with virtually no time on the clock, was a work of art. If they can get that guy healthy again, the Cowboys have a shot to compete in 2016, for that reason alone.

Discouraging: The Cowboys are hopeful this is a non-issue by training camp, and there's a good chance it will be. But as we sit here in early January, Bryant just had a second surgery on his foot, which stemmed from the initial injury he suffered in the Week 1 win over the Giants. After missing six straight weeks, Bryant was able to return to action for the Nov. 1 game with Seattle, but he was never the same. Throw an additional ankle injury into the mix and Bryant played the second half of the season at way less than 100 percent. Now, he needed a second procedure, which should heal in time for Bryant to participate in offseason practices, but it all originated from the injury back on Sept. 13. 

Game 2: Cowboys 20, Eagles 10

In what was billed as a matchup between DeMarco Murray and his former team, the Cowboys made that a non-issue from the start. Murray and the entire Eagles' running game was stuffed all day, rushing for just 7 yards, including 2 yards by Murray on 13 attempts. The Cowboys used a blocked punt in the third quarter to extend a halftime lead and held on for the 20-10 win despite losing Romo in the third quarter.

Encouraging: If there were any questions regarding Sean Lee's move from the middle to weak-side linebacker position, the veteran answered them on this day in a huge way. He shadowed Murray all game and lived in the Eagles' backfield. Lee recorded 14 tackles, including three for loss, along with two pass deflections and an interception in the end zone. Lee's pick was one of three turnovers, the most the Cowboys recorded in one game all season.

Discouraging: This might be the easiest one to pinpoint of the entire series. Tony Romo fractured his collarbone, prompting a series of decisions the Cowboys made in an attempt to save the season. Now they enter 2016 with plenty of doubt regarding Romo's health and even more doubt about the backup quarterback spot.


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