There was a collective sigh of relief heard from Seattle all the way to Dallas Thursday night when quarterback Tony Romo walked off the field under his own power after being injured on the third play of the preseason game between the Seahawks and Cowboys.
Romo grabbed his back after he was sacked by Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril as he was attempting to slide.
After a few minutes on the ground, Romo walked off under his own power. He was attended to by a host of Cowboys medical personnel.
“ I was in shock. I had my mind on 'come on Tony get up,’” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told TV broadcasters. “I said a few prayers right then and there on the spot.”
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The tackle on Romo overshadowed the 27-17 loss to the Seahawks, who got a 16-yard, third-quarter touchdown run by former TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin.
Romo took some snaps on the sideline, made a few throws and even had his back stretched out while on the ground.
He lobbied to come back in, but was seemingly overruled.
Romo did not return to the game when the offense went back on the field for the second series. He put his ball cap on and watched from the sidelines.
The 36-year old quarterback had back surgeries following the 2012 and 2013 seasons and missed 12 games last year after twice fracturing his collarbone.
“He is not injured,” Jones said. “He was fit to be tied to go back in. It was the coach’s decision.”
Dak Prescott took over and finished out the first half by completing 15 of 19 passes for 106 yards and one touchdown and led the Cowboys to a field goal en route to a 10-10 tie at the break. The touchdown came on a 17-yard pass to tight end Jason Witten.
“His (Romo) back was bothering him a little bit after that play. We don’t think it’s a serious thing, and we just felt better keeping him out,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “ Dak came in and did a great job.”
Somewhat lost in the Romo injury was the NFL debut of rookie Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for 48 yards on seven carries.
Prescott’s play came mostly against one of the league's top defenses, which played extended minutes. Prescott finished the game by completing 17 of 23 games for 119 yards.
“He comes in and shows great poise. He trusts his players, and he trusts the system,” Garrett said of Prescott. “Coach (Scott) Linehan does a great job with him. The situation and circumstances are not too big for him.”
Prescott was near perfect in the first two preseason games against the Los Angeles Rams and the Miami Dolphins, so much so that the Cowboys are focusing on him as their primary backup behind Romo, suspending their search for an experienced veteran.
Although his stats weren’t as gaudy as they were in the past two games, the team seemed to rally around him again.
“You just keep playing. Everyone goes out there and just does their job.,” Garrett said. “It’s something we preach, our guys understand that, and they handled it well.”