IRVING, Texas – All losses are difficult to swallow. And the one-point setbacks on the road, in a game you held the lead for the majority of the afternoon seem to make it worse.
Like all Mondays in half of the NFL cities, the blame-game is played. With the Cowboys, there were plenty of discussions about the lack of the running game, the costly turnovers, the lack of forced turnovers by a defense that got six the week before, the drop-off in Dez Bryant's play and maybe the pass interference penalty on Morris Claiborne late in the day.
And like every Cowboys loss it seems, the focus shifts to the quarterback as well.
Tony Romo didn't talk to the media on Monday, which is nothing new. So questions about his pain tolerance with the rib injury, or what he saw on film with some of the red-zone breakdowns weren't answer by him. His head coach Jason Garrett wouldn't speculate for him, especially when asked about the rib injury he suffered last week against the Giants.
"He gives no indication that they are," Garrett said when asked about Romo's ribs. "I think you'd have to ask him about how he was feeling at different times in the game. I thought he did a good job. I thought he competed well throughout the game and obviously our overall efficiency, we can improve on offense."
Romo did take a pain-reducing injection shot before the game and seemed to be throwing the ball rather well. As the game wore on, Romo struggled more, especially late when he misfired on three straight throws to the left side in the final four minutes of regulation.
After the game, Romo dismissed feeling any effects of the rib injury.
"I'm fine. No issues, just normal stuff," Romo said. We shot it up before, so I was fine."
Romo finished the game 30 of 42 passing for 298 yards and one touchdown, no interceptions for a 99.1 quarterback rating. He did lose a fumble in the fourth quarter when he was hit from behind just before his arm was going forward on a pass.
With his 90.8 quarterback rating in Week 1 against the Giants, this marks just the second time of his career Romo has failed to get over 100 in either of his first two starts of the season. In fact, before this season, Romo went over 100 in eight of the 14 games played in his first two games of the season.
Then again, winning games is the biggest statistic that matters to Romo or the Cowboys. But even he knows failed opportunities such as Sunday's miscues and misfires in the red zone will prevent victories.
""I mean you could see it - it's penalties and sacks," Romo said. "Any time you have minus-plays down there, it's difficult, especially on the road. That hurt us (Sunday), and obviously, came back and didn't allow us to do what we needed to do. It's disappointing."
And even Romo admits a better running game wouldn't hurt, although he's never one to point the finger. The quarterback said playing with a lead in the fourth quarter would likely lead to more runs.
"Once again, it's about the game we're playing in that day. We have more possessions, we're going to run the ball more," Romo said. "If we have a lead in the fourth quarter, we run the ball more. I don't know if there's a magic number. More than anything, we need to run it a little bit better if we want to run it more. We need to get it going a little bit."
The Cowboys rushed for just 37 times on Sunday, with just 13 attempts to tailbacks. In the first two games, the running backs have run it 34 times to the 91 passing attempts by Romo. [embedded_ad]
The unbalanced attack is what we've seen in the past. Failing to score in the red zone isn't new. And now, failing to build on a Week 1 win with a disappointing game in the second week looks like a trend, too.
But Romo's response to this being the "same-ol' Cowboys" from the past?
"I think you've just got to play better," Romo said. "You've got to run the ball better, you've got to score when you're down there, and you have to stop people. You've got to score when you're in the red zone. You have to do all that stuff. That's just football. Everyone's doing the same thing after this week that lost, and we're going to be included in that. That's part of what happens. The guys did a great job and gave a great effort out there, but ultimately, that doesn't matter. It's about winning and losing and we know that."
And once again after two weeks of the season … the Cowboys have done both.