EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Tony Romo didn’t have to look far to lay the blame for the Dallas Cowboys’ late collapse in a 27-24 season-opening loss to the New York Jets.
He simply needed a mirror.
“We win that football game if I don’t do what I did. It’s hard to swallow,” the Dallas quarterback said Sunday night after his fumble at the New York 3, then his interception to Darrelle Revis led to a bitter loss. “This game really came down to one of two plays, and those plays are ones I gave them the ball.”
The Cowboys led 24-10 just 10 seconds into the fourth quarter and Romo was performing well in his first real game since breaking his left collarbone last season and missing the final 10 weeks of the season. Then, it all fell apart, with former Cowboys kicker Nick Folk winning the game with a 50-yard field goal with 27 seconds remaining.
First came the fumble with Dallas ahead 24-17 and about 9 minutes remaining. Romo scrambled on third down, then headed to the end zone and was hit by Mike DeVito. That jarred loose the ball, and Sione Pouha recovered.
“I was trying to protect the ball and not squeeze it in because it would be a risky throw to try to get it to the end zone,” Romo said.
New York didn’t get any points then, but did tie it on a blocked punt – hardly Romo’s responsibility.
Then came the decisive error.