IRVING, Texas – In a season marked by his efficiency, Tony Romo played perhaps his worst game of the year on the biggest stage so far.
Facing a ferocious Philadelphia pass rush, Romo was sacked four times, failed to reach 200 yards passing and threw two interceptions. His average quarterback rating his season has been 97, and on Thursday night he posted a 53.7.
"When we watch the tape, we are going to see that we did not block well enough, we did not catch well enough and we did not throw well enough," Romo said. "That is not always the case, but today was a good example of us allowing them to dictate that to us."
The situation cries out for an excuse, considering the situation facing Romo – and the Cowboys as a whole – entering the game. The team landed in Dallas following its Nov. 23 win against the Giants at 5:30 a.m. local time. Roughly three days later, without the same prep time to treat his injured back, Romo suited up to play the Eagles.
Romo declined to let himself off the hook, however.
"That is not an excuse. It would be doing a disservice to the way the Eagles played if you thought it was about something else," he said. "I just think there was no excuse with the short week. We should have been better. I should have been better, and I am going to play much better next week. I can promise you that."
Instead, Romo tipped his cap to an Eagles defense that made life miserable all evening long. The Cowboys' ground game, which was averaging five yards per carry and 150 rushing yards per game, put up 3.7 yards per attempt against the Eagles and finished with just 93 yards on the night.
With the Philadelphia pass rush bearing down on Romo for four sacks and even more hurries, the Dallas wideouts failed to take advantage of a secondary ranked 26th in the league.
"It is disappointing, but you have to give them credit," Romo said. "They pushed the pocket and did things that make things a little bit more challenging."
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett agreed with his quarterback's assessment of the performance. Garrett said Romo came out of the New York game "clean," as far as his health was concerned. The Dallas offense, simply put, couldn't seem to click.
"It seemed in different situations he wasn't as comfortable in the pocket," he said. "All those things added together probably got us out of rhythm a little bit."
As usual, Garrett and Romo said the coaches and players will do what they normally do – watch the tape and clean up the problems. Excuses didn't seem to fit into the equation.
"They had a short week, too," Romo said. "It was definitely short coming here after the Sunday night game, but I don't think that has much to do with the outcome of the game. I think they just played better than us, and they took it to us."