IRVING, Texas – Unlikely as it might seem, the Cowboys' plan to leave Tony Romo on the active roster paid off for at least one week.
Dallas downed Washington, 19-16, on Monday night, moving them within a game of first place in the NFC East. The win keeps the Cowboys in the hunt for another week, and it prevents them from having to change that game plan regarding their starting quarterback.
"No change in that plan," confirmed Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Tuesday afternoon.
It seems like a longshot at best, but there's at least some sliver of hope that Romo has a chance to still play a role in this season as long as he remains on the active roster. There are 38 days between Thanksgiving, when he injured his clavicle, and the Jan. 3 season finale against Washington.
With a five or potentially six-week window to heal, the dream is that Romo is able to play some part in a potential playoff run. And however crazy that might sound, it's certainly mitigated by the fact that every single team in the NFC East is below .500 with four games to play.
"Well, the reason we have not put him on IR is because of the timing of his injury," Garrett said. "We say whatever it is, eight weeks, there is still season left, so we'll play that situation out. But we're all behind Matt and what he's going to do for our team and we'll see what happens if we get to that point."
The Cowboys will need improved play from Cassel if they're going to even approach that decision. Cassel completed just 16-of-29 passes for 222 yards against the Redskins. He moved the offense into position for a game-winning field goal in the dying moments, but he was erratic for most of the night.
He'll have a big opportunity to improve on that performance in just five days when Dallas travels to Green Bay.
The prospects aren't exactly bright for a season that had so much promise. But, having come this far, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones summed up his thought process pretty well in a radio interview with 105.3 The Fan.
"I'm going to back to that old saying: it's an ugly baby, but it's my baby," he said. "And here we go. Step by step -- I'm talking to you from New York right now. And we'll probably go straight to Green Bay. The bottom line is why not? We can go up there and the defense put together a game like that, a little more confidence in our offense, and here we go. Why not?"
There are plenty of answers to both questions – "why?" and why not?" At the very least, though, the Cowboys are alive to ask them for at least another week.