By mark rogers
September 20, 2011

Week 1 could not have gone worse.

I sat texting a few friends during that horrific 4th quarter against the NYJ on opening night and sent this over cyberspace:

"This drive will make or break the rest of Romo's career"

That was with exactly 5 minutes to go in the game. That all-important (to me anyway) drive consisted of a 12 yard pass, then three plays and a punt.

So I was off one drive. It was actually the NEXT drive that ended up being the crucial, Romo-defining moment.

And we all know what happened.

59 seconds left. 1st and 10. Tied at 24. Ball on our own 41. Just need about 35 yards for a chance to win. Romo back to pass. Looks right. Sees double coverage on a limping receiver. Flips the ball out towards the sideline like a little girly-man who thinks that a football is stinky and smelly and wants nothing to do with it.


Game over.

Romo is the goat. Again.

I was ready to fire him that night. Glad that's not (nor will it ever be) my job.

The next day, after a night of reflection and meditation, I wasn't ready to jump off the Romo bandwagon just yet.

After all, Dirk Nowitzki is soft and will never win the big one. Mack Brown and Tommy Bowden also had the "can't-win-the-big-one" stigma for many years. So why can't Romo shake the monkey off his back and do something great?

The other thing I thought was..."it's the first game". Still lots of football left to be played.

That brings us to Sunday afternoon. On the road in San Fran. Down 10 in the 4th quarter. And not only does Romo bring Dallas back to win in OT. But he does it with a broken rib.

And not only is it a broken rib. It's PUNCTURING HIS LUNG.

While it's not heroic in the same sense of the word we use to describe our brave men and women in uniform serving our country today and in years past, in a game where a very minor grazing of the top of a defender's helmet on a QB's jersey will get you a 15-yard penalty and probably a bet it's heroic.

It was just what Dallas needed. Seeing their leader frantically looking for his helmet in the third quarter after the sideline reporter said he was done for the day, seemed to galvanize the team and propel them to the come-from-behind victory.

And how fitting...that Romo would lose Canseco-style 27-24, then come back one week later and be just the opposite in a 27-24 win.

I'm still calling Dallas to go 11-5, which is contingent on us beating Washington on Monday night and then a very good Lions team (yes, they're very good) at home the next week before the BYE.

Here's what's not helping...the players on our injury report (and this isn't even the whole thing):
Tony Romo
Jason Witten
Dez Bryant
Miles Austin
Orlando Scandrick
Mike Jenkins
Felix Jones
Terrence Newman
Phil Costa
Bill Nagy

There are 7 potential Pro-Bowlers on that list. But here's the good news. Nobody's done for the year. In fact, the longest any of those 10 is expected to be out is through the BYE week.

Those are the types of injuries you can bounce back from (see Green Bay in 2010).

The kind you can't are the ACL's, broken bones, torn muscles, etc. Look at KC. They've lost their best offensive and defensive players and are, for all intents and purposes, done for the year.

That hasn't happened to us yet.

Our most terrifying injury is to our most important player. And he fought through the pain, fought through all his critics, put all the parody posters and viral texts making fun of him in the past, and led his team to victory. Don Meredith style.

That drive at the end of the NYC game may turn out not to be Romo's defining moment. It may turn out to be an everyday hit he took in the 1st quarter against San Fran.

The injury that saved the season...we can only hope.

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