Tony Romobroke his left clavicle during Sunday's win over the Philadelphia Eagles, taking the air out of the team's 2-0 start. It's the same injury that knocked Romo out for the final 10 games of the 2010. The Cowboys will do more tests on Romo's injury Monday before determining a timetable for his return.
It's a brutal loss for an organization that believed this team had the makeup to make the Super Bowl. Owner Jerry Jones was asked how he felt when he heard the news on Romo.
"Just about as low as a crippled cricket's ass," Jones told reporters via the Dallas Morning News.
Jones was with Romo when they learned the diagnosis.
"Of course, we both were sick," Jones told NFL Network's Desmond Purnell. "It's not that we haven't literally had a similar situation more than one time before and certainly no one has pushed up his expectations any higher than Tony about what he can do for us. ... He's a competitor. It broke his heart, broke my heart."
Romo's injury comes on the same day that Dallas' defense put together one of its best performances in years. Despite the big name injuries, the Cowboys are two games up on the Giants and Eagles in the NFC East. The Redskins are in second place at 1-1. The question naturally becomes: Can the Cowboys survive until Romo is back in the fold?
We wrote at length about the Cowboys' depth following the Bryant news, and many of the same points hold true. The Cowboys have an outstanding offensive line and a bunch of supporting players trying to punch above their weight. It's hard to see Brandon Weeden carrying an offense built around Terrance Williams, Joseph Randle and Jason Witten. Then again, perhaps the offense doesn't need to do that much.
The Cowboys' defense has been fantastic through two weeks and the two wins in hand are significant. Let's say Romo misses eight games. It's hardly an impossible task for Dallas to go 3-5 without him and stay around .500. Weeden completed all seven of his passes for 73 yards Sunday, including the game-sealing touchdown. While it's possible he won't complete every pass this season, he's averaging 7.8 yards-per-attempt as a member of the Cowboys on 48 attempts. Perhaps Weeden can steal a few games.
"The NFL is really about adversity in general," Romo said after the game. "It's how you handle it, how you approach it on a day-to-day basis, individually and collectively. The job for our football team is to find ways to win. I think we have guys in there that can do that."
The lack of quality in the NFC East is another huge plus for the Cowboys. Dallas is already 2-0 in the division, and the Giants have all sorts of problems after blowing 10-point fourth quarter leads in back-to-back games. Philadelphia suddenly can't move the ball, and Washington has won eight games since the start of 2013.
In short: The Cowboys might not have to win many games to stay in the mix until Romo gets back. (If Romo gets back.) There are no easy wins left on the schedule, but this Cowboys defense can keep this team competitive. After so many years when Cowboys teams were less than the sum of their parts, this group has done a great job early showing mental toughness. It's only going to get tougher from here.