NFL: Rams 34, Cowboys 14
ST. LOUIS ó Even on the road, the chorus of “Romo!, Romo!” from Dallas Cowboys’ fans was easily audible at the start of the second half.
Tony Romo told the coaching staff after pregame warmups he wasn’t up to playing with a broken right pinkie. He was in uniform, giving fans false hope, but they were stuck with Brad Johnson.
The 40-year-old backup quarterback couldn’t keep up with a suddenly potent, opportunistic St. Louis Rams’ offense, throwing three interceptions. Steven Jackson ran for 160 yards on 25 carries with three touchdowns and the Rams (2-4) looked like contenders instead of sad sacks for the second straight game under new coach Jim Haslett in a surprisingly easy 34-14 victory.
“It was a tough day for all of us,” Johnson said. “We had miscues across the board.”
Owner Jerry Jones admitted after the game that he thought the Cowboys had enough to beat the Rams despite Romo’s injury and the suspension of cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones. Adding to the woes, Jones said after the game that safety Roy Williams would miss the rest of the season after breaking his right forearm for the second time.
“I just was thinking a little lighter than I should have about this ballgame,” Jones said. “I’m not speaking for this team, but I was.”
The Rams won 19-17 at Washington last week in their first game since replacing Scott Linehan, ending a run of 17 losses in 20 games and four blowout losses to start the season.
Their response to Haslett, beginning his second stint as a head coach, has exceeded expectations.
“I think it’s just the will of the players, more than anything,” Haslett said. “I thought they played extremely well today, in all three phases.”
St. Louis defense did its part, forcing four turnovers for the second straight game.
Romo looked fine throwing in pregame warmups with his hand wrapped. The team originally believed the injury would sideline him a month, but held out hope Romo could play until game day.
“He ended up making that decision for us, actually, and that’s the way it should have been,” Jones said. “He just felt like he couldn’t help us.”
Johnson was 6-for-18 for 66 yards in the first half while the Cowboys fell behind 24-7. He finished 17-for-34 for 234 yards.
Marion Barber had 100 yards on 18 carries and the game’s opening touchdown for Dallas. There were not many more highlights for the Cowboys (4-3).