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 action. 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.
"It was a comeback route," said Romo, who was throwing to Dez Bryant. "The coverage dictated what Dez did and he kept going. It was a dumb decision by me."
But a brilliant decision in Revis' eyes.
"As long as I keep playing, people are going to test me," the All-Pro cornerback said. "They feel confident in their game plan and what they want to do. When the ball comes to my side, I'm not shocked."
"We played through the success and adversities of football and kept competing," Garrett said. "We clearly need to play better at the end to win the ballgame."
The Jets' win came in the final game of the NFL's first full Sunday with the commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as an emotional backdrop.
The Jets turned the ball over a few minutes later when a blitzing Danny McCray sacked Mark Sanchez, hitting him from behind and knocking the ball loose. But the Cowboys couldn't take advantage when they had two penalties and were forced to punt -- the play that swung the momentum in the Jets' favor.
Early in the week, Jets coach Rex Ryan said he felt a responsibility to the New York area to win on opening night, especially with the team honoring the victims of the attacks and their families before the game and at halftime. He also wanted to get the better of his twin brother, Rob, with their father Buddy in the crowd.
Burress put both arms out with the ball in one hand, bowed and yelled to the crowd in celebration, and then gave the ball to his 4-year-old son Elijah in the stands.
Romo was 23 of 36 for 342 yards and two touchdowns, picking on Antonio Cromartie on both to help give Dallas a 24-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Witten finished with six catches for 110 yards, Austin had five for 90, and Bryant caught three passes for 71 yards.
New York responded after Austin's score with a 33-yard pass to Jeff Cumberland that sparked a 64-yard drive. Folk capped it with a 34-yard field goal that made it 17-10.
The game was played before a full MetLife Stadium, with most fans in their seats before the game for an emotionally charged pregame show featuring an a capella version of the "Star Spangled Banner" by Lady Antebellum that had a crowd of nearly 80,000 silently listening, many of the fans saluting, some crying.
Players from both sides held an American flag that blanketed the field while the anthem was sung.
At halftime, the stadium lights were turned off, with dozens gathering at midfield and forming two huge human squares -- in honor of the Twin Towers. The squares were made visible by those involved holding up lights, along with three spotlights in the middle of each formation.
Five For Fighting's John Ondrasik then sat at a piano on the field and performed his song, "Superman (It's Not Easy)," which became an anthem for many after the attacks with its lyrics about heroes.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press