They're Human After All

Cowboys wide receiver ever has caught more than the 14 touchdown passes Terrell Owens has caught so far this season. And there is a reason only one other NFL head coach in his first season with a club had ever gotten off to the 12-1 start Wade Phillips had.

This stuff the Cowboys had been producing just doesn't happen every other season.

To understand how bad Sunday was, is to understand how utterly remarkable the first 13 games had been. Which means they had been really remarkable because Sunday was really, really bad, the first vibe coming on the second Cowboys' offensive play when Romo badly overthrew a wide-open Owens for what would have been an 85-yard touchdown pass. Told you hitting those open receivers is not nearly as easy as Romo had been making it appear.

Look, this was the first time in 54 regular-season games the Cowboys failed to score a touchdown; the 240 total yards were the fewest since Game 15 of last year, when they were held to 201 by, uh, these same Eagles; the 187 yards passing was the third-lowest total of the season; and the 53 rushing was the fewest this year, and get this, the fewest since the third game of the 2004 season - a span of 59 games.

Wonder now who should get credit for putting this team together?

There is a lesson, though, former Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells preached, and it was one about this being a team game, that if you are relying so heavily on one player and that one player should happen to have a bad day at the office, well, you've got no recourse.

The Cowboys had no recourse.

Tony Romo had a bad day at the office. Nearly atrocious. He completed a season-low 13 passes on 36 throws for just 214 yards, was sacked a season-high four times, was intercepted three times and finished with a career-low 22.2 QB rating - the lowest by a Cowboys quarterback since Vinny Testaverde's 18.9 in that 2004 season 30-10 wipeout by Baltimore.

Romo was just off, and this was far before he suffered that thumb contusion on his right hand in the third quarter that, no matter his protestations or those of the head coach, affected his throws and ability to grip the ball. He continually missed open receivers. He was late on throws. He had the ball knocked out of his hands.

But he was gracious in defeat, and sans excuses, trying to ignore his sore thumb even if the ice wrap on his right hand became club-ish.

"They did a great job, obviously, and put a lot of defensive pressure on us," said Romo, whose X-rays on the thumb were negative, suggesting more of a contusion. "We didn't handle it as well as we've been. It's frustrating because I played poorly, and I wished I had played better, and I take the blame for some of it.

"We made way too many mental mistakes tonight. This was probably our highest mental errors for our teams, offensively at least, and their defense did an outstanding job."

See, look, quarterbacks just don't regularly throw down 100 rating efficiencies every week, and Romo had in an incredible 10 of 13 games, along with seven straight - something only three other quarterbacks had ever done in NFL history. They don't regularly throw for 300 yards seven times in a season as Romo has, or at least no previous Cowboys quarterback did, the most the previous 47 years standing at three.

So with Romo off, the offensive line couldn't be. The front five was, and matters grew worse when center Andre Gurode left in the third quarter with a sprained knee. The Cowboys then needed to run the ball. They couldn't, for if not for Romo's 16-yard scramble they would have finished with 37 rushing yards. The wide receivers needed to be perfect. They weren't, catching just four passes, Owens dropping one and from the sounds of things, the receivers not exactly all running the proper routes.

So with Romo off, the defense needed to step way up. The Cowboys' defense nearly did, holding the Eagles to but 10 points until that final possession when another touchdown would have been scored if not for Westbrook's smarts. Problem is, that 10 was four too many points. And special teams, not darn thing.

As Parcells said, this ain't tennis out here.

This is a team game, and no matter what you think, Tony Romo is not the Lone

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