NFL: Cowboys QB Romo folds in blowout loss to Vikings
AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS — All those big-game demons that Tony Romo supposedly vanquished last week resurfaced at the worst possible time for the Dallas Cowboys.
Romo lost two of his three fumbles and threw an interception to seal the Cowboys' fate in a 34-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC divisional playoffs today.
Romo completed 22 of 35 passes for 198 yards, but the best individual season of his career was brought to a crashing halt. The Vikings sacked him six times and pressured him often. One of the enduring images of the day will be Romo slamming his fist to the turf in frustration as the game slipped away.
On the other side, one of Romo's boyhood idols did him in. Romo grew up in Burlington, Wis., while Brett Favre was leading the Green Bay Packers back to the top of the NFL. There was no cheering for him Sunday while Favre threw for 234 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Vikings to their first NFC title game since 2001.
Romo trudged back to the locker room with a dejected look on his face and another big-game failure on his resume.
It was such a stark contrast to a week ago, when Romo was the toast of NFL analysts for back-to-back brilliant performances against the Philadelphia Eagles. He threw for 311 yards and two scores in the final week of the regular season to give the Cowboys the NFC East title, then followed that up with 244 yards and two TDs in a 34-14 win over the Eagles for his first career playoff win.
The performances — and a full regular season in which he set career bests for yards (4,483), rating (97.6) and fewest interceptions (9) — led many to believe that Romo had finally arrived.
Then the Vikings made him look like the kid whose fumbled hold of a field goal try cost the Cowboys against the Seahawks in the 2007 playoffs.
The Cowboys took the opening kickoff and marched right down the field with ease, until Ray Edwards sacked Romo and forced a fumble that Kevin Williams recovered to stop the drive in Vikings territory.
On their second possession, Romo's fumbled snap cost the Cowboys valuable yardage and ultimately forced them to settle for a 48-yard field goal try by Shaun Suisham. The kick was wide left, shifting the momentum to the Vikings.
Trailing 14-3 in the second quarter and needing a boost, Romo responded with another lost fumble, this time on a sack by Jared Allen. The Vikings turned that into three more points for a 17-3 lead going into halftime, and the stunned Cowboys never recovered.
They tried to put a rally together in the second half, but their chances essentially ended late in the third quarter when Romo threw the ball right to linebacker Ben Leber deep in Dallas territory.