Tony Romo gave Cowboys fans and owner/GM Jerry Jones a big scare when he lay on the Jerry World turf for 2-3 minutes following a third-quarter sack by Redskins ILB Keenan Robinson. Robinson’s knee drilled Romo in his lower back, an area where Romo underwent offseason surgery. It concerned Jones enough that he immediately came down to the field from the owner’s suite to check on his quarterback. Jones went to the locker room and even personally updated coach Jason Garrett in-game. That’s not normal. But we all know ole Jer’ isn’t normal. Romo missed two possessions while receiving a dose of pain killers, and then successfully talked his way back into the game. He wasn’t the same. Romo was sacked on his first drop-back and threw a should-be interception on his first pass late in the fourth quarter. Brandon Weeden led the offense to ten points on two possessions. It’s going to be a situation to monitor on a short week. Garrett confirmed after the game that X-rays on Romo’s back were negative, and Romo was nursing a “back contusion.” The medical staff will check on Romo again Tuesday morning.
On the other side of the field, Colt McCoy was making his first start since 2011 with the Browns. He got off to a rough start, botching some calls with a couple bad decisions in front of his home-state Texas fans and parents, but eventually settled down to complete 25-of-30 passes for 299 yards. McCoy added a seven-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw. It was easily McCoy’s best start of his career, and will maybe earn him another. With the Redskins on a short week ahead of their Week 10 bye, coach Jay Gruden may decide to reward McCoy with a second start against the Vikings. RGIII was moving around well in pregame warm-ups. The Redskins would be smart to be cautious with him in a season they have nothing left to play for besides draft position.
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Monday Night Football Notes
Alfred Morris rushed for just 11 yards on five first-half carries. He was even sat down for one series in the second quarter in favor of Silas Redd. Morris jumpstarted his night in the second half and remains locked in as Washington’s feature back. … DeMarco Murray continues his torrid pace. He’s eclipsed 100 yards rushing in each of the first eight games, and is on pace for 2,108 yards on 412 carries. Eric Dickerson’s rushing record is 2,105 yards on 379 carries in 1984. … DeSean Jackson roasted both Sterling Moore and Brandon Carr for big gains Monday. Jackson is on pace for a 64-1,328-6 line. The yards would be four fewer than his career-high of 1,332 with the Eagles last season. Most expected a drop-off when he signed in D.C., but Jackson has returned steady WR2 value. … Dez Bryant’s five yard score was of the grown-man variety. He fought through two tackles at the goal line before stretching his arm across the plane for the touchdown. On pace for 96-1,240-10, we’d take the “over” on the yards, while the catches and touchdowns are easily attainable. The elite WR1 gets the burnable Cardinals secondary in Week 9, one Jeremy Maclin just scorched on Sunday.
In Other News…
Brian Quick’s breakout junior season is over. After catching a ten-yard pass in the second quarter of Sunday’s Week 8 loss to the Chiefs, Quick landed on his shoulder, dislocating it and tearing his rotator cuff. It’s a tough blow to both the Rams and Quick. The No. 33 overall pick in the 2012 draft had already set new career highs with 25 catches for 375 yards and three touchdowns, establishing himself as the clear-cut No. 1 receiver in St. Louis. It’s what we’d all been waiting for from the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Appalachian State product. Quick should be ready for training camp next summer with one year left on his rookie contract. The Rams will turn to Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens opposite Kenny Britt. Britt could flirt with WR3/4 numbers, but look for more of the offense to go through Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks in the red zone.
After tossing three early interceptions Sunday, Geno Smith was yanked for Michael Vick. Coach Rex Ryan confirmed on Monday that Smith has been benched, and Vick is expected to start against the Chiefs in Week 9. No matter who starts for the Jets, the Chiefs defense will be one to stream. Vick replaced Smith Sunday, and took four sacks, tossed an interception, and lost two fumbles. The Chiefs are coming off a seven-sack performance against the Rams.
Coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed Marcus Lattimore will practice on Wednesday for the first time since wrecking his knee on October 27, 2012 at South Carolina. Lattimore has spent the majority of the past two seasons on the reserve/NFI list. By practicing Wednesday, it starts Lattimore’s 21-day clock to be activated to the 53-man roster. Expect the 49ers to take the entire three weeks to make a decision, so don’t look for Lattimore to make his NFL debut any time before Week 12. If he can play this season, it’ll be an opportunity to put some runs on tape for the 2015 season. Both Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter are in the final years of their contracts, leaving Lattimore and Carlos Hyde as the only two running backs under contract for 2015 in San Francisco.
Quarterback & Running Back Slants
Khiry Robinson (forearm) was listed as “DNP” on Monday with the Saints playing the Panthers on Thursday night. … The Bucs waived QB Mike Kafka with Josh McCown (thumb) now healthy. … The Browns admit Isaiah Crowell’s role has been reduced due to ball security concerns. … Charles Sims is eligible to come off short-term IR this week, and most expect him to play a major role immediately upon return. … Trent Richardson (hamstring) was merely the Colts’ emergency No. 3 back Sunday. … Stepfan Taylor (calf) is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. Marion Grice will be Andre Ellington’s top backup. … Giovani Bernard’s hip injury isn’t believed to be serious. … Alex Smith has a strained throwing shoulder. He played through the issue Sunday against the Rams, but it’s something to monitor. … Coach Ron Rivera deemed DeAngelo Williams (ankle) “ready to rock.” … Toby Gerhart (foot) emerged from Week 8 without any setbacks. … Aaron Rodgers (hamstring) said he won’t miss any game action. … Coach Lovie Smith indicated he thinks Doug Martin deserves more touches. He managed 27 yards on ten carries Sunday. … Rashad Jennings (knee) didn’t practice Monday, and ESPN New York would be surprised if Jennings is ready for Week 9. We’ll know more later in the week.
Wide Receiver & Tight End Slants
Coach Bruce Arians says rookie John Brown reminds him of Marvin Harrison. … Cordarrelle Patterson was in a walking boot after Sunday’s win over the Bucs, but has already shed it. … ESPN’s Chris Mortensen doesn’t expect the Bucs to deal Vincent Jackson ahead of this afternoon’s 4 PM ET trade deadline. … The Colts are hopeful Reggie Wayne (elbow) will resume practicing later this week. … The Seahawks rolled coverage toward Greg Olsen on Sunday, limiting him to 1-16-0 on three targets. … Davante Adams played on 68-of-71 snaps Sunday against the Saints. He’s firmly the Packers’ No. 3 receiver. … Jimmy Graham (shoulder) played 62 percent of the snaps Sunday after playing just 40 percent of the snaps in Week 7. … Brandon LaFell led all Patriots receivers, playing 61-of-74 offensive snaps in Week 8. … Hakeem Nicks played 60-of-66 snaps Sunday, while Donte Moncrief played 40 snaps. Moncrief obviously outplayed Nicks by a large margin. … Allen Robinson has led the Jaguars’ receivers in snaps played each of the past three weeks.
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