This wasn't how the Cowboys were supposed to lose last night. They were supposed to lose like a normal team. They were supposed to lose for reasons that make perfect sense, like their young o-line getting overwhelmed by the Jets pass rush, or because the secondary (which was in tatters by game's end) couldn't hold back the Jets' fleet of wideouts for 60 full minutes. They were supposed to lose with some semblance of dignity. Sure, it was a bit much to ask of them to beat the Jets on the road in the first game of the season, but at least they'd play hard and give you some signs of encouragement.
But holy holy holy holy ayatolley, that didn't happen. Instead, it took the Cowboys and Tony Romo all of one game to remind you of every single reason why they've driven you out of your mind for the past decade. I don't even know where to start with Romo's fourth quarter last night. You could write a 900-page book about it, the chokiness was so majestic, so biblical in its proportions. I half expected cameras to cut to Jessica Simpson in the stands wearing a pink Romo jersey. I thought Jason Garrett might trot Alex Barron out onto the field just for the symmetry of it all.
What do we do with Tony Romo? What do we do with a guy who looks like an All-Pro for three quarters and then - at the very instant where NBC's Cris Collinsworth remarks on what great decisions Romo has made all night - proceeds to douse himself with lighter fluid and shoot himself in the face with a freakin' flare gun? What do you do with a player like that? Because you can't just shrug off what Romo did last night. He hit for the cycle when it comes to bungling a game. He fumbled. He was picked. He botched a snap. He had an absolutely CLASSIC Tony Romo delay of game penalty with 5:18 left on the clock. He ordered EVERYTHING on the choker menu.
And we haven't even gotten into that ridiculous possession after the Jets blocked the McBriar punt and tied the game, a possession in which Romo (presumably under orders from Jason Garrett) ran the play clock down on every play when they weren't winning anymore! When they had to score to prevent the inevitable! Did Andy Reid teleport into Garrett's brain for that stretch? Why did that happen? WHY WHY WHY?
It wasn't supposed to be like this. With Wade Phillips gone, this team and this QB were supposed to have their act together. But they went out last night and made all the same mistakes that have cost them dearly over the past few years. This team was good enough last night to beat New York. Heck, Romo was about a yard away from doing just that. Then the wheels came off and suddenly, it feels as if very little about this team has changed. Maybe Wade was never the problem. Maybe there's no way to keep Romo from crumbling when it matters. The fact that we have to ponder all this after ONE GAME is enough to make any Cowboys fan want to tear their own heart out.