Eli Manning tied his career best with four touchdown passes, Brandon Jacobs ran 30 yards for a touchdown and Lawrence Tynes kicked a career-best 53-yard field goal and the New York Giants turned a sloppy start into a 41-35 victory over the Cowboys on Monday night.
New York (5-2) won its fourth straight and is alone atop the NFC.
Dallas is 1-5, its worst start since 1989. That was the year Jerry Jones bought the team, Jimmy Johnson took over as coach and the Cowboys went 1-15. Everyone knew that team would stink. This club, however, had Super Bowl hopes.
Any chance of turning this season around ended when Romo was drilled by blitzing linebacker Michael Boley in the second quarter. Dallas still pushed ahead 20-7, then gave up 31 unanswered points.
The Cowboys were getting stomped despite having pried away three turnovers (including two interceptions returned inside the New York 20) and a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown. A loss would put them off to their worst start since going 1-15 in 1989, the first year Jerry Jones owned the club.
The injury could end his season. Recovery time is generally 8 to 10 weeks. With the Cowboys at 1-4 and headed to 1-5 there may not be any reason to rush back.
The play came early in the second quarter, with Romo throwing a pass to Miles Austin, then taking a hard hit from blitzing Michael Boley. The linebacker came in unblocked and running at him practically full speed. Romo landed on the shoulder and remained flat on his back until being helped by trainers. He was taken into the locker room for X-rays and replaced by backup Jon Kitna.
Kitna hadn't played since Oct. 5, 2008, when he was part of Detroit's winless season. Whether it was the long layoff, being 38 or both, he sure looked rusty.
His first pass was tipped. So was his third. The next time he dropped back, he was sacked for a 10-yard loss, forcing Dallas to punt from its own end zone. The Giants took advantage of the short field to score the go-ahead touchdown. His next pass was fumbled by Jason Witten, setting up Tynes' long field goal.
Dallas actually was leading 10-7 when Romo was hurt. A field goal at the end of that drive made it 13-7, then rookie Dez Bryant had the second-longest punt return in club history, making a nice catch on a 69-yard kick and showing great speed and moves to stretch the Cowboys' lead to 20-7.
Romo had been 5 of 7 for 39 yards with a touchdown pass. Kitna was 5 of 12 for 27 yards with two sacks.
Manning was 22 of 31 for 267 yards. This was the fourth time he'd thrown four TD passes.
Dallas lost two other players to groin injuries: defensive end Jason Hatcher and left guard Montrae Holland. Holland already was filling in for injured starter Kyle Kosier, so the Cowboys had to go with Phil Costa, a rookie free agent who was making his NFL debut.
The Cowboys pulled out the stops this week to try turning things around. Team owner Jerry Jones gave an encouraging speech Monday, officials worked practices on Wednesday and Thursday and Hall of Famers Bob Lilly and Tony Dorsett were honorary captains for this game. (Hours earlier, Dorsett called the team "a bunch of underachievers.") They drummed up some loud applause by showing clips of the World Series-bound Texas Rangers, then cutting to Nolan Ryan in the stands.
Apparently, the Giants are making up for what the Yankees failed to do on their trip to Arlington last weekend.