Tony Romo Injury: Why Dallas Cowboys Are Screwed Without QB

John HickeyContributor IISeptember 18, 2011

Tony Romo, Cowboys
Tony Romo, CowboysThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The in-again, out-again performance by Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo against San Francisco Sunday suggests a grim future for Dallas if Romo is out more than he’s in down the line.

Romo was felled by a shot to the ribs on the third play of the game and was knocked down not too much later.

By the time the second half started, the pain in his ribs forced him to the sideline with what has been described as a fractured rib. Despite that, he was back in the waning seconds of the third quarter, and he remained on the field in the fourth period, including throwing a strike to Miles Austin, his third of the game, that got the Cowboys back to within a field goal at 24-21 with just under seven minutes to play.

Dallas’ backup, Jon Kitna, threw a couple of interceptions and one touchdown during his time in the game, and the second interception put the 49ers in position to go ahead.

The 49ers kept the pressure on Romo all afternoon, and it was difficult not to wince each time the Dallas quarterback had to be helped up off the ground.

It’s clear that Romo was hurting throughout, and if the Cowboys had more faith in Kitna, they probably would have left the backup in the game and rested Romo.

It will be interesting to see just how far Romo will be able to go with fractured rib(s). It’s been a gutty performance, but can the Cowboys hope to contend in the NFC East if their quarterback is seriously limited?

It’s a fact that opposing defenses are going to zero in on the ribs, so Dallas needs to have a solid backup plan. If Kitna’s not it, look for the Cowboys to start looking outside the organization for help.