Romo Out For a Month
The Dallas Cowboys will be without quarterback Tony Romo for as long as a month because of a broken finger on his throwing hand.
Romo suffered a broken right pinkie on the first play of overtime of the Cowboys' loss Sunday at Arizona, according to a report on the team's website.
The Cowboys lost the game on a blocked punt.
Veteran Brad Johnson takes over as the team's fill-in starter.
Brooks Bollinger is to be Johnson's backup.
Romo was sacked by Cardinals outside linebacker Chike Okeafor on the first play of overtime. Romo fumbled the ball but recovered it himself. Romo threw incomplete passes on the next two plays before the Cardinals blocked a punt and recovered the loose ball for the winning touchdown.
Romo has started every Cowboys' game since taking over for Drew Bledsoe six games into the 2006 season. He's made 32 straight regular season starts. He is the NFL's third-rated passer this season through Sunday's play, behind only San Diego's Philip Rivers and New Orleans's Drew Brees. Romo has thrown for 1,689 yards in six games this season, with 14 touchdown passes and five interceptions.
Johnson, 40, is in his second season as Romo's backup. He's yet to throw a pass this season. He threw only 11 passes for the Cowboys last season and last started a game while with the Minnesota Vikings in 2006.
But he's been a starter for much of a 17-year NFL career that has included two stints with the Vikings and one each with the Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cowboys. He has thrown for 28,627 yards and 164 touchdowns in his career and led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl triumph in the 2002 season.
The Cowboys' record dropped to 4-2 with Sunday's defeat to the Cardinals. They play at St. Louis this weekend. After facing the Rams, the Cowboys have two more games before their bye week, hosting the Buccaneers and facing the New York Giants on the road. They return from their bye to play the Redskins on Nov. 16 at FedEx Field, by which time Romo presumably will be back in the lineup. The Redskins game comes five weeks after Romo was hurt.
It will now be up to Johnson to keep wide receiver Terrell Owens happy and prevent the Cowboys' season of high hopes from unraveling. The Cowboys looked like the league's most powerful team in the season's very early going but stumbled in recent weeks with losses to the Redskins and Cardinals. Johnson doesn't possess Romo's athleticism, daring or arm strength, but perhaps can be a steadying influence and be less mistake-prone.
He'll need to play well for the Cowboys to keep pace in the NFC East. It's a volatile mix in Dallas these days, with Owens demanding publicly that he get the ball regularly. Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips is under intense pressure to win in the postseason after last season's second-round playoff defeat to the Giants, and his potential successor could be already on his staff after offensive coordinator Jason Garrett signed a lucrative contract extension in the offseason to remain with the club.
The Cowboys are awaiting word on whether the league will discipline cornerback Adam Jones for getting into a scuffle with one of his bodyguards last week at a Dallas hotel. People around the league suspect that there could be plenty of internal strife within the organization if the Cowboys begin to lose often, and Romo's injury won't help Phillips as he tries to hold things together.
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