“My heart dropped,” Bryant said. “My heart dropped, just because all the hard work we done put in this whole summer, it makes you nervous.”
Romo missed only one snap after he was crunched by Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Trattou. He did not get X-rays at halftime, nor did he take any pain-killing injection or pill. His warm-up throws before the third quarter began were hardly smooth.
“You take some hits sometimes and you’ve got to come back from it,” Romo said. “We had plenty of guys do the same thing and it was no different. You get back out there and play. I’ll be fine.”
The Cowboys need Romo. He completed 36 of 49 passes for 263 yards with two touchdowns -- both to tight end Jason Witten -- and an interception. He was sacked twice, coming on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter. He even had his legs rolled up after throwing a pass.
Two years ago Romo suffered a cracked rib and punctured lung and delivered 27-24 overtime win at San Francisco. He wore a protective vest for six games and needed pregame injections to get through games.
“You knew he was hurting, but that’s just him,” Witten said. “He’s a competitor. He finds a way. He did it in San Francisco. He’s done it his entire career. He’s just a warrior. He bounces back and he kept leading us and finding throws. I thought he did a great job of showing toughness. When the quarterback shows that kind of toughness I think everybody kind of feeds off that.”
In addition to the toughness, Romo displayed his new commitment to error-free football. His interception came on a miscommunication with rookie receiver Terrance Williams. He completed passes to eight different receivers. Dez Bryant caught only four balls for 22 yards. Miles Austin's 10 receptions went for only 72 yards. Witten averaged only 8.8 yards per reception. Running back DeMarco Murray caught a career-high eight passes.
Patience has not been one of Romo’s strong suits, but it had to be Sunday with the way the Giants were playing. Their goal was to make sure Bryant did not beat them, sending a safety to his side on almost every play. They gave up the short stuff. It was unlike any defense Romo had seen from the Giants in all of his years starting.
“As a quarterback you always want to attack,” Romo said.
But Romo took what the Giants gave him.
“When Tony’s played his best football throughout his career, he’s done that,” coach Jason Garrett said. “What we try to do in the passing game is provide him with answers and he needs to find the right answers on each and every play.”
Romo had the answers Sunday and he answered another toughness question, too.