ARLINGTON, Texas – Tony Romo’s season might be over, and the Dallas Cowboys’ season might as well be.
As for Eli Manning and the New York Giants, everything’s clicking.
Romo broke his left collarbone in the second quarter, then his teammates let a 13-point lead turn into a 41-35 loss Monday night that helps send both teams in opposite directions in the NFC East.
The Giants (5-2) won their fourth straight and moved a full game ahead in the division.
Dallas slumped to 1-5, its worst start since 1989, when it finished 1-15.
Coach Wade Phillips acknowledged this is the most frustrating of his 34 seasons in the NFL. He also said he told the team to keep fighting.
“We’ve got some guys I think will step up and make plays,” he said. “They fought hard all the way. It looked like we were way out of it and we still had a chance. We kept fighting.”
Any logical chance of turning this season around ended 12:07 before halftime when Romo went down. Recovery time is generally 8 to 10 weeks. By then, there may not be any reason to rush back. Only one team in NFL history has recovered from 1-5 to make the playoffs.
Romo was drilled by blitzing linebacker Michael Boley. It was a clean hit, but certainly a kill shot – Boley was untouched and Romo was vulnerable after throwing a pass. He went down hard on his left shoulder and remained flat on his back.
The Cowboys actually were up only 10-7 when Romo left and stretched it to 20-7. Then New York scored on its next five possessions, a 31-point flurry that sent home much of the crowd by the middle of the third quarter.
Dallas backup Jon Kitna hadn’t played since Oct. 5, 2008, when he was part of Detroit’s winless season.
“It just took him awhile to get going,” Phillips said. “Once he did, it gave us a chance.”