In what was to be the dress rehearsal game for the Dallas Cowboys, their third preseason contest quickly became a nightmare due to an early injury suffered by starting quarterback Tony Romo.
The third preseason contest for an NFL team is often called the dress rehearsal game simply for the fact most of the team’s starters tend to play more minutes in this matchup over any of the other exhibitions. Therefore, it is the most like a regular season game. For the Dallas Cowboys, Thursday night’s preseason contest against the Seattle Seahawks was a true dress rehearsal game for about three plays.
That’s because Cowboys starting quarterback, Tony Romo, was injured on the game’s third play of it’s opening offensive series. The 36-year old landed awkwardly, twisting his back, while being tackled from behind after scrambling out of the pocket. Romo fell limp to the ground in agony afterwards, one hand grasping at his back.
After a few moments on the ground, Romo sat up and walked to the sidelines on his own power. He then consulted with the Cowboys medical staff and began stretching on the sidelines. A few moments later, Romo could be seen talking with Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett apparently pleading his case in order to get back into the game. Garrett wisely refused and sat his franchise quarterback for the rest of the night.
Initial reports had Romo complaining of back tightness, but the extent of his injury is unknown. Both Garrett and Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones didn’t seem overly concerned following the incident. Jones went as far as to not call it an injury.
Although Romo’s health will be the biggest news coming out of the Cowboys 27-17 defeat to the Seahawks, the second headline will likely be about rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott who made his Dallas debut in Seattle. The first round pick out of Ohio State showed all the traits that made him such a high pick in April. Elliott demonstrated great vision, patience and power running for 48 yards on seven carries. And Zeke was instrumental during the Cowboys first scoring drive.
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott continued to impress, entering the game earlier than expected due to Romo’s back injury. Although the 23-year old struggled at times against the first-teamers of one of the best defenses in the NFL, he never looked rattled by the Seahawks. Prescott would completed 17 of his 23 passes for 116 yards. He also made a 17-yard touchdown pass to All-Pro tight end Jason Witten late in the first quarter.
The Seahawks played their first team offense into the third quarter, easily outplaying the Cowboys second and third team defenses at times. But Dallas’ first team held Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson and his squad to only 10 points in the first half of the game.
By next Tuesday, the Cowboys will have to cut down their current roster of 90 players to only 75. Dallas’ final preseason game will be against the Houston Texans in AT&T Stadium next Thursday, September 1st. Known as the Roster-Bubble Bowl, this game will likely not contain any starters on either side as the team’s normally use this contest evaluate their depth with final cuts occurring during the following three days.