PHILADELPHIA – The Cowboys keep winning wars. But they keep losing warriors. Dallas recorded a 20-10 victory on Sunday over the Eagles to take an early but seemingly firm hold on the NFC East. Except this is a white-knuckler now, because MVP candidate Tony Romo is lost to the team with a broken left collarbone.
“It never feels good whenever you get hurt,” said Romo, who joins sidelined teammate Dez Bryant, lost in a Week 1 victory over the Giants. Sources indicate to me that Dallas is prepared to be without Romo for as long as eight weeks, pending more tests on Monday to supplement the X-rays taken Sunday that clearly show a fracture to the same area that was broken in 2010.
Bryant, meanwhile, is working to come back from surgery on a broken bone in his foot that required a screw and a graft. Sources tell me that despite rumors of the surgery altering the team’s timetable, Dallas continues to believe the All-Pro receiver can return in less than eight weeks. All of this caused Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to feel a bit sorry for himself even though Dallas is surviving these monumental losses thanks to an almost impenetrable defense.
How low did Jerry feel when in the third quarter Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks sacked Romo and drove his shoulder into the turf, causing the QB to almost immediately proclaim to medical personnel, “It’s broken’’? “As low,’’ Jerry said in the postgame locker room, “as a crippled cricket’s ass.’’
And what is the pick-me-up here? At QB, it’s going to have to be Brandon Weeden, who was terrific yesterday in making the difference in Dallas’ 10th straight road victory. The journeyman went 7 for 7 for 73 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown to Terrance Williams in the late going. “We have a lot of weapons, a lot of good weapons,’’ Weeden said, “so my job is to make it easy on those guys, let them do their jobs, get them those one-on-one matchups, and let them do what they do best.”
Weeden is certainly capable of being a “bus driver’’ but will benefit from an offense that plays sharper than it did here. Dallas was plagued by penalties (18 for 142 yards) and was rescued by a blocked punt return for a touchdown, and coordinator Rod Marinelli’s defense, which embarrassed former Cowboy runner DeMarco Murray by limiting the big-money Eagle to 13 carries for an abysmal 2 yards. Linebacker Sean Lee was Philly’s main tormentor, finishing with a team-high 14 tackles, with two tackles for loss and an interception.
The Cowboys have now won seven of their last nine games at Philly. “We just like Eagles meat,” defensive lineman Jeremy Mincey joked. “That’s all it is. Nothing wrong with a little bird on the table, a Philly cheese bird.”
More “bird’’ is next, as COO Stephen Jones pointed out. “Not having Tony is a big deal,” he said. “I don’t want to underplay that. But I do like our team. Just gather the troops and suit up. We’ve got the Falcons next.”
The “troops’’ will not include this team’s least expendable talents in Dez and Romo. But another football war needs to be won … even without the warriors.