The Cowboys had only seven linemen active for the game against the 49ers. Kevin Kowalski was the reserve interior lineman, and Jermy Parnell was the reserve tackle.
So when center Phil Costa went out with a knee injury and Kowalski came in, there would have been no replacement if he or one of the guards had been hurt.
The Cowboys got fortunate in a couple of ways. First, they wound up not needing another guard. Second, Kowalski had been working more at center than guard.
“Fortunately, I had been getting quite a bit of reps at center during the week,” Kowalski said. “Not so much at guard. So the situation wasn’t the worst situation that could have happened to me, and I felt I was pretty prepared and the coaches helped me be prepared for the moment.”
Jason Garrett played Monday Morning Quarterback with himself a day after the Cowboys’ 27-24 overtime victory over the 49ers. Garrett, the team’s play-caller as well as its head coach, called for a running play with receiver Miles Austin at the end of regulation.
Dallas faced a third-and-two from the San Francisco 28 with 49 seconds remaining and trailing by three points. Austin lost a yard and reinjured his hamstring on the play. The Cowboys kicked the game-tying field goal on the final play of the fourth quarter.
Garrett said he would like to have a mulligan on the play call.
“I don’t like the call,” Garrett said Monday. “I say it every week, there are about 10 calls throughout the week that I don’t really like. Conceptually, it was a good idea for that situation. We wanted to run the ball there. We’ve run similar type runs from that three-wide receiver set in the drive, so we wanted to do something different. Sometimes, when you put guys in different spots and then run a play, that you’re comfortable with, it can affect the defense. We did have an opportunity to get that thing outside, and Miles just turned it up in there. We wanted to run the ball and not have too much of a negative play. We wanted to kick the field goal. In hindsight, I would’ve run a different play.”
Garrett said he would have called a different running play if given the opportunity.
“Sometimes you make mistakes in the game,” Garrett said. “In hindsight, you go back and evaluate and say, ‘Hmm, maybe we should’ve done something different.’ But the idea was to run the ball there just to give Dan Bailey a chance to kick it. He made a big kick in the game, obviously.”
TBAB comment: I was going to post something on this subject, but JG was quick to squash it. At the time, during live game action, it appeared as a broken play or some type of mass confusion in the backfield. Now that I realize it’s an actual designed play (but poorly executed with an injured player), I can see the benefits of a play like this (with a healthy WR, of course). Austin could have really put icing on the cake … and boost his already impressive game stats. I love innovation, so lets keep that one tucked away in the playbook … until Austin is healthy again.
IRVING, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys received a hint of good news regarding the status of Tony Romo’s ribs when a CT scan on Monday revealed only one fracture, according to sources.
The team was unable to get a clean X-ray during Sunday’s game at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, which required the CT scan to rule out a second fracture. On Monday, Romo said the pain level was the same as it was during the game.
Romo managed to get through the first half but missed all but 37 seconds of the third quarter as the medical staff waited for pain-killing medicine to take effect.
Romo will receive extra treatment throughout the week but said after the game he would be able to play next Monday against the Washington Redskins since he was able to finish the game Sunday. He could wear extra protection for his ribs.
Running back Felix Jones suffered a dislocated shoulder on Sunday but was able to continue to play with a harness. He should be available to play against the Redskins. Center Phil Costa (knee) and Witten (ribs) also checked out OK.
According to sources, wide receiver Miles Austin is not expected to play against the Redskins after aggravating a hamstring injury he suffered during training camp. While it is possible he could play Oct. 2 against Detroit, the more likely return date is Oct. 16 at New England after the bye week.
RELATED: Sources say Tony Romo has punctured lung (4:49 pm CDT)
IRVING, Texas — While a CT scan revealed only one fracture to Tony Romo’s ribs, the Cowboys’ quarterback has been diagnosed with a punctured lung, according to sources.
Coach Jason Garrett said during Monday’s news conference that he did not rule out Romo playing next week against Washington. However, Garrett never specifically addressed the lung puncture.
“I would not think there’s any reason to think that he won’t play Monday,” Garrett said. “We’re certainly hopeful.”
SAN FRANCISCO — At the end of a long afternoon at Candlestick Park, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo could barely move. Romo suffered a fractured rib in the Cowboys’ dramatic 27-24 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Romo is scheduled to undergo a CT scan on Monday.
Romo moved around the locker room slowly and had trouble putting on a dress shirt and pants.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones felt moved by his quarterback, who didn’t start the second half due to the injury only to come back into the game and lead the Cowboys to a game-winning Rally.
Jones and Romo shared an embrace and then Jones kissed Romo on the temple.
It was an emotional moment for Jones, who watched his team rally from a 14-point deficit.
“Extremely,” Jones said on the emotions. “Good. It was good. I was so proud for him and proud for us. It was something out of a movie really because he really is hurt.”
Austin hurts hamstring again, Felix separates shoulder, Costa dings knee
The Cowboys are going to go into another week with injury questions.
Miles Austin aggravated a hamstring injury when he ran the ball on the failed third-down that forced the Cowboys to try a field goal to tie the game. He might miss next week’s game.
Running back Felix Jones suffered a separated shoulder early in the game and wore a harness the rest of the way.
Center Phil Costa suffered a knee injury and was replaced by rookie Kevin Kowalski. He missed time in the preseason with a knee injury.
“Just couldn’t run,” Austin said of the third-and-2 play, in which he lost two yards. “Went out there and kind of just slowed me down. Fumbled the ball, too. Shouldn’t have done that.”
Austin, who caught three touchdown passes, said he felt the hamstring been bothering him before that run.
“Hampered by it a little bit,” he said. “But that was the one where you kind of felt it the most.”
The Cowboys are hopeful cornerback Terence Newman will be ready to play next week’s Monday night game against the Washington Redskins.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he’s confident in Jon Kitna if Tony Romo can’t play next week against the Washington Redskins.
“We have a lot of confidence in Jon,” Jones said. “Jon steps in and he makes plays. He got us going. Good drives. Obviously the touchdown kept us in the game. That’s what he’s done the last two years, really step in and make plays.”
Kitna completed six of 10 passes for 87 yards, a 5-yard touchdown to Miles Austin and two interceptions.
“Jon inspired the team to come in,” Jones said. “You guys know how many snaps the backup quarterback gets. But he came in and made those plays. It’s a shame that he’s going to have to have on his stats about that one that bounced around back there. That’s a shame. We’re fortunate, this team, to have him as the backup quarterback.”
Kitna said he didn’t do anything special. He was just glad to be ready when called on, and he said that’s the message coach Jason Garrett has been emphasizing.
“The message is the same every week,” Kitna said. “We’re not going to talk about excuses, how we’re going to wish and live in that land of ‘Oh, what if?’ Hey, you’re on this team, you have a job to do. When it’s your turn to do your job, you’ve got to do your job.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said there was no question Dan Bailey was going to be the kicker on the 48-yard field goal to tie the game, even though he had missed a 21-yarder in the first quarter.
The Cowboys could have turned to kickoff specialist David Buehler, who has a reputation for a strong leg and has more experience.
“It was going to be Bailey. No question,” Garrett said.
Bailey made the field goal, and in overtime, he won it with a 19-yard kick set up by Jesse Holley’s 77-yard catch and run to the 1-yard line.
“The kick that he made into the wind in that situation to tie the game is a big-time kick. A big-time kick,” Garrett said.
Bailey said he was glad to get a second chance. And a third.
“It was definitely a roller-coaster for me,” Bailey said. “I’d like to have that first one back, but that’s OK. You’ve got to take it one kick at a time. Luckily, I got a couple of opportunities to redeem myself and went out there and put them through.”
Jesse Holley had three catches 96 yards against the 49ers. He should have had a touchdown on the final catch, but he admits he “ran out of gas,” (Juke Juice) allowing safety Donte Whitner to catch him from behind at the 1-yard line.
“I never proclaimed to be a speedster,” said Holley, who got a chance to make the team three training camps ago after winning Michael Irvin’s reality show on Spike TV. “God blessed me with a lot of things, but 4.3 speed definitely wasn’t one of them.”
It was as if the Cowboys’ final play had been drawn up by a screen writer. Tony Romo got Whitner to bite on a play-action fake to Tashard Choice, allowing Holley to get wide open. After that, it was just a matter of Holley catching the ball and running as fast as he could to glory.
“If I drop that pass,” Holley said. “my bag might beat me back to Dallas.”
Holley was playing only because Miles Austin had tweaked his hamstring on the final play from scrimmage in regulation. He had gotten a chance in the fourth quarter only because Dez Bryant was inactive with a thigh contusion and Austin was a bit gimpy with his hamstring.
“I went to my coaches and I told them I’m ready,” Holley said. “I’m just glad that they believed in me to make a play.”
Holley had never had a catch before Sunday.
When quarterback Tony Romo didn’t return to the game in the third quarter, his parents grew worried so they rushed from the stands to the field.
Of course by the time they got to the field and near Romo to find out what was wrong, he was back in the game and leading the Cowboys to a heroic comeback victory.
“We had some sneaking suspicion he hurt his ribs but we didn’t know for sure,” his dad Ramiro Romo said. “We had no idea. When he wasn’t playing we knew something was serious. We went to the field to see if he was all right and he was back in the game. They let us watch the rest of the game from down there.”
Ramiro Romo said he was proud of the entire team for how they battled and continued to play.
And after initially downplaying the controversy of the last week when his son was criticized nationally for his two fourth-quarter turnovers and not being a game who can win in the clutch, Dad showed his pride and his own bit of competitiveness.
“You can’t question his heart, you can’t question that,” said Ramiro before pausing with a smile. “And you can’t question the ability to perform when the game is on the line.”
Tony Romo saved the day. And Jesse Holley too. But Doug Free hasn’t gotten credit for his part in making the Cowboys’ 27-24 overtime victory happen.
Receiver Miles Austin already was gimpy with his hamstring injury when Jason Garrett called for Austin to take a running play on third-and-two from the 49ers 28 with 49 seconds to play in regulation. Austin further injured himself, and he fumbled. Free recovered the ball.
“I just couldn’t run,” Austin said. “I went out there and [the injury] kind of just slowed me down. I fumbled the ball, too. I shouldn’t have done that. Maybe my knee was down. Maybe it wasn’t. But either way, I can’t do that.”
Officials did rule it a fumble, and TV replays showed his knee was not down. So without Free, Romo and Holley wouldn’t have starred.
SAN FRANCISCO — While his teammates sprinted to celebrate Jesse Holley’s 77-yard catch-and-run in overtime, Tony Romo mustered only a feeble fist pump as he gingerly walked the length of the field.
Sure, the play was great, but it couldn’t take away the pain from the fractured rib he suffered on the game’s third play.
One play after Holley’s catch, Dan Bailey kicked a 19-yard field goal and somehow, some way, the Dallas Cowboys had rallied to beat the San Francisco 49ers, 27-24.
As much as last week’s loss to the New York Jets’ stung, the Cowboys’ win over the 49ers felt so good after they rallied from deficits of 14-0, 21-14 and 24-14. All you had to do was look at the abundance of smiles and back-slapping hugs handed out among players, coaches and the front office execs in the locker room.
These Cowboys showed they could be the mentally tough team that plays through adversity and fights play after play that Jason Garrett has envisioned from the day owner Jerry Jones named him head coach last November.
If we’re honest, none of us figured Romo would be the symbol of the Cowboys’ mental and physical toughness.
We were reminded of that last week, when his fourth-quarter fumble and interception turned what should have been a sure win over the Jets into a loss. He was rightfully criticized on sports-talk radio in Dallas-Fort Worth and nationally as well as the unforgiving world of social media.
None of that matters anymore.
Romo changed the perception folks had of him Sunday afternoon at Candlestick Park.
Romo showed toughness, poise, leadership and every other trait you’d ever want in a quarterback during the fourth quarter and overtime of the Cowboys’ improbable win over the 49ers.
Romo completed 20 of 33 passes for 345 yards and a pair of touchdowns, although the injury made it difficult for him to breathe and even harder to call plays because he had to shout to be heard over the crowd noise.
Sensational is the only way to describe Romo’s performance in the fourth quarter and overtime. He completed 12 of 15 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown in his last three drives.
Of course, Romo’s end-of-the-game performance is also why he tends to drive us crazy on a regular basis. You see the talent, the charisma and the potential, then wonder why he has so many brain farts.
Romo is human, so he’ll continue to make mistakes that have us occasionally questioning his sanity, but the discussion about his leadership skills and toughness have been rendered irrelevant.
No doubt, his teammates will follow him after that performance.
Jones compared Romo’s performance to Emmitt Smith’s 1993 season finale against the New York Giants. That’s the game Smith, playing with a separated shoulder, rushed 32 times for 168 yards and caught 10 passes for 61 yards in an overtime win that clinched the NFC East title.
“It’s really about a football player and a competitor,” Garrett said. “He’s one of the best competitors I’ve ever been around, and he just loves to play. I just knew at some point I was going to get a tap on my shoulder standing on the sideline.”
Actually, Romo tried to sneak into the game to start the third quarter. When Jon Kitna was in the huddle, Romo showed up and said he was playing. Then, in an awkward moment, Romo left the field.
The reason: His painkillers hadn’t kicked in yet, and the medical staff and Garrett didn’t want him in the game yet.
Kitna played three series in the third quarter and threw two interceptions and a touchdown pass, pulling Dallas within 21-14 entering the fourth quarter.
Finally, Romo convinced Garrett to let him play.
“Tony said, ‘At some point, I’m going to play with this. Why not now?'” Garrett said. “You never want to put a player out there when he’s not going to be safe, but Tony managed it really well.
“A number of times he got hit afterward and he kept getting back up. I thought it was a great performance.”
After the game, Romo downplayed his performance, claiming he wasn’t any different than his teammates who fought through pain and injury to play.
One day, we’re going to look back at this game and remember the day Romo changed part of his legacy.
— As Dallas kicker Dan Bailey’s winning 19-yard field goal went through the uprights, a huge roar of approval came from the Candlestick crowd. For a second, it sounded as if he had missed, giving the home team another chance.
But the applause came from a contingent of Dallas fans that almost surpassed the Red Sox partisans who routinely seize control of the Oakland Coliseum, rivaling the presence of A’s supporters. The Cowboys fans routinely made noise on 49ers’ possessions, chanting “Defense.”
“That was amazing. I don’t know if I’ve ever been involved in a game like that,” said Dallas tight end Jason Witten. “They helped the players, helped the mind-set.”
Quarterback Tony Romo made an even stronger statement. “That was possibly the difference,” he said. “They were loud.”
Safety Donte Whitner, in his first year with the 49ers, didn’t expect to see so many blue and white jerseys.
“I was very surprised,” he said. “They had their own chants. It was almost like a split house.”
He ascribed the large number of Dallas fans to the intensity of the long rivalry between the Cowboys and 49ers, but when these two teams ruled the NFL, 49ers fans would have filled most of the house. As the 49ers have declined, more tickets have become available to opposing fan bases. The Steelers have long drawn a big following here, and a certain number of cheeseheads always find a way to watch the Packers here.
But as Witten said, this game was different. The ‘Stick had practically become a Cowboys’ comfort zone.
SOURCE: Gwen Knapp, Chronicle Staff Writer San Francisco Chronicle September 18, 2011 09:05 PM
SAN FRANCISCO – Cowboys starting running back Felix Jones played most of the game against the 49ers with a separated shoulder, owner Jerry Jones said.
Jerry Jones said Felix Jones separated his shoulder on one of his first carries of the game in the first quarter. Felix Jones’ last carry of the game was a 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Felix Jones finished with 25 yards rushing on nine carries.
Rookie DeMarco Murray was in for most of the Cowboys’ final drive of regulation that led to a 48-yard, game-tying field goal in the closing seconds.
Jerry Jones said Felix Jones wore a harness most of the game in an effort to help him with his separated shoulder. Jerry Jones said he’s not sure if Felix Jones will be able to play in the Cowboys’ home opener against Washington next week.
“Our guys hung in there,” Jerry Jones said. “It wasn’t pretty in the offensive line and we couldn’t run the ball very well.”
— Victory seemed well in hand for the 49ers after kicker David Akers skied a 55-yard attempt through the Candlestick uprights with 11:16 left in the game Sunday. The 49ers led the Cowboys 24-14, and Dallas quarterback Tony Romo was trying to play through a broken rib.
The goat a week earlier when the Cowboys melted down against the Jets, now Romo could barely call signals in the huddle, thanks to a blind-side hit by 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers that kept him out most of the third quarter.
But Romo and the Cowboys weren’t done. They scored on three straight drives to turn the 10-point deficit into a 27-24 overtime victory.
Afterward, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, now 1-1 as an NFL head coach, and his players tried to stay positive.
“We’ve got to be mentally tough,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to keep looking at each other in the eye, keep preparing. It’s not going to defeat us (in the long run).”
Running back Frank Gore said, “I give credit to us. We whumped their ass up and down the field. … We didn’t finish.”
The 49ers will have to hope they’re not going to follow a trend of narrow losses from early last season, when they lost four of their first seven games by three points or fewer, including defeats to the Saints and Falcons.
Sunday’s victory-turned-defeat was sealed when Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey booted a 19-yard field goal with 12:07 left in overtime after Romo connected with wide receiver Jesse Holley for a 77-yard reception. Bailey had missed a 21-yard attempt on the game’s first drive.
On the big pass play, Romo got plenty of help from the 49ers’ secondary. It looked as if safety Donte Whitner bit hard on a play-action fake that allowed Holley, a onetime practice-squad player, to speed past him. Romo hit Holley in stride and he motored the final 49 yards down the sideline before Whitner caught him at the 1-yard line.
“It was a miscommunication,” Whitner said. “I’ll let coach Harbaugh and the rest of the coaching staff (address that). It was just a mistake.”
A huge mistake and the kind that bedeviled the 49ers in their close losses last year.
“I don’t blame anybody,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t play the blame game.” He was answering a question about the offensive line, which allowed six sacks, but the answer reflected his general mind-set.
He kept repeating that his team played well enough to win, and the players seemed almost in denial that they’d just taken such a disappointing loss. The 49ers’ offense didn’t get past the 50 until less than a minute remained in the first quarter. But they finished that drive in the second quarter with a Gore touchdown run and scored again on their next possession when Kyle Williams grabbed a 12-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith for a 14-0 lead.
As the game wore on, the 49ers seemed to be trying to play keep-away. They forced the run game, even going with a seven-man line a few times.
Meanwhile, the passing game stalled at inopportune times, possibly hindered when wide receiver Braylon Edwards left the game in the first half with a knee injury. Smith was functional, completing 16 of 24 passes in the game for 179 yards and a pair of scores. But an ill-advised pass intended for Vernon Davis in the third quarter was intercepted by cornerback Alan Ball. The Cowboys’ offense converted the turnover into a touchdown for a 14-14 tie.
In the second half, Smith could barely move in the pocket without running into a Cowboy. He was dumped four times for sacks and forced to flee the pocket twice.
“We took some sacks in some critical situations,” Harbaugh said. “We have got to protect. We’ve got to get the ball out.”
Romo was hurt by Rogers’ tackle at the end of the first half. The 49ers took full advantage of his replacement, Jon Kitna, who threw two interceptions in the third quarter. One came in the end zone, by Whitner, and another, by cornerback Tramaine Brock, set up the Delanie Walker touchdown that gave San Francisco a 21-14 lead with 37 seconds left in the quarter.
Dallas, already missing starting center Phil Costa and top receiver Dez Bryant, went back to Romo on its next possession.
“I could tell he was hurt by the way he was talking,” Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. “When he was calling plays, I said, ‘Speak up.’ He said, ‘I can’t.’ ”
Romo then led the three drives that resulted in the game’s final 13 points.
After fumbling and throwing the game away to the Jets in the fourth quarter the previous Sunday, Tony Romo (despite a broken rib) led the Cowboys to scores on each of their final three possessions against the 49ers. Romo’s stats and the results of those drives:
|11:12, 4th||5-7-81||25-yd TD pass to Austin at 7:03; 49ers lead 24-21.|
|4:03, 4th||5-6-37||48-yd FG by Bailey at 0:04; 24-24 tie.|
|12:57, OT||1-1-77||Pass to Holley sets up 19-yd FG at 12:10.|
|Totals||11-14-195||Cowboys, trailing 24-14, come back to win 27-24.|
SOURCE: Kevin Lynch, Special to The Chronicle. Lynch writes for Niner Insider on SFGate.com.