Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys Played 9/11 Like a Joke

Tom Firme@TFirmeAnalyst IISeptember 12, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball against the New York Jets during their NFL Season Opening Game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys came out roaring to open the 2011 season against the New York Jets, only to have the Jets roar back at them late in the game. 

For Romo and the Cowboys, 9/11 was a joke, mirroring the Public Enemy song "911 Is a Joke" ("Everyday they don't come, correct?"). 

When the game was on the line, Romo resembled the same Romo who is a 1-3 playoff quarterback and has made frequent mental mistakes in prior seasons.

He made two critical mistakes in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter that cost the Cowboys the game. 

Romo could have sealed a Cowboys victory midway through the final quarter, but made a costly fumble.  By tucking the ball in his belly and scrambling for the goal line, he made precisely the right play, but one could argue that he could have handled the ball tighter. 

With 59 seconds left, Romo had a chance for a heroic game-winning drive.  Instead, the Cowboys' chance at victory sailed away when Romo misread coverage and threw an interception to Darrelle Revis

All the talk by Romo in the offseason of being a competitor and reducing mental mistakes went awash in the minds of Cowboys fans with that interception.

What a joke, right?

But, Week 1 is naturally filled with kinks.  Players will make mistakes. 

Especially after a work stoppage eliminated offseason workouts and part of training camp. Even Aaron Rodgers said after his Green Bay Packers beat the New Orleans Saints on Thursday that the Packers offense would have started faster if they had had offseason workouts.

Sitting easy with the mistakes made by Romo—and blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead for the first time in Cowboys history—isn't an easy task for Cowboys fans.

Dez Bryant made a couple great first-quarter catches, including the first touchdown of the new season for the Cowboys.  In the following three frames, he drifted off to Revis Island, battling Revis, as well as cramps.

Cowboys punter Mat McBriar made five great punts, including two inside the Jets' 20 yard line, averaging 47.2 yards per punt.  All of his work was for naught when Joe McKnight broke through and blocked a punt, the second in McBriar's career, followed by Isaiah Trufant's game-tying return for a touchdown.

Sean Lee played outstanding defense in his first start.  In the second quarter, Lee read a counter run by Shonn Greene perfectly, and stuffed Greene at the line of scrimmage.  Late in the third quarter, Lee jumped on a Mark Sanchez pass and intercepted it, nearly taking it back for a touchdown. 

However, all of Lee's big plays were negated by his inability to stave off LaDainian Tomlinson on a few big catch-and-run plays.

Romo was terrific for three-and-a-half quarters, throwing for 321 yards on 21-of-31 passing before making his two big mistakes. 

Commentators have some right to flog Romo after he botched two shots at a Cowboys win.  Romo could have cemented himself as one of the truly reliable quarterbacks in the NFL, but he will be excoriated for losing control after playing almost flawlessly for most of the game.

What a joke, right?

Week 1 is the real joke. 

Any football observer with any grounding knows that Week 1 doesn't matter.  To say that what happens in Week 1 provides telling signs of the season to come, is misleading to football followers.  That is just as misleading as gathering valuable wisdom based on preseason play.

Romo has a prime chance to put away worries about his play and about his ability to make judgments on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers will be a perfect chance for Romo and the Cowboys to recover their footing.  The 49ers won't test Romo's mettle like the Jets did, providing the chance for Romo to ease back into rhythm.

Week 1 was a joke for the Cowboys.  Romo and the Cowboys have the rest of the season to prove that the joke is on the rest of the league.