IRVING -- Tony Romo threw himself under the bus Sunday after the Cowboys' 27-24 loss to the New York Jets. A day later, his teammates tried to help Romo back to his feet.
"I'll take that guy over anybody in the league," Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking said. "Y'all might think I'm crazy, but he's going to have an all-time year. He's going to shatter every record."
Romo was left alone as he briefly sat at his locker at Valley Ranch on Monday during the open locker room period for the media. But the Cowboys made it perfectly clear they have Romo's back, and they believe in him.
"I think our confidence is even higher [in Romo]," Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. "I think everybody across the board has that same confidence in him [that] he has in himself. Obviously, it was a disappointing couple of plays, but that doesn't define who he is. We know what type of player he is, so we'll get back on track. We have all the confidence in the world in him."
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Romo completed 23 of 36 passes for 342 yards, two touchdowns and a 101.9 passer rating against the league's third-ranked defense from a year ago. But his two turnovers in the final nine minutes cost the Cowboys.
It marked the first time in team history they lost after holding a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead, giving them a 246-1-1 record in that situation, according to STATS, Inc.
Romo's fumble at the New York 3-yard line didn't allow the Cowboys to take what should have been a two-score lead with 8:59 left. His interception came with 49 seconds left in a tie game when he tried to throw over the top of All-Pro Darrelle Revis to Dez Bryant, and it led to the Jets' game-winning field goal.
"I don't think the location was great [on the throw]," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "I think in hindsight, the decision was a little aggressive, certainly for that situation. I don't think it was miscommunication, though. It was more about location and decision-making."
Romo took the blame after the game, saying "This game came down to one or two plays, the plays that I gave them the ball. I cost us the game. I've got to do a better job right now."
His critics agreed. Romo was beaten up nationally on ESPN and locally on sports talk radio as the debate began anew about his ability to win big games.
For their part, the Cowboys said they are tuning out all the Romo bashing.
"He's a terrific leader," Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said in the postgame locker room. "He's the best. He is the real deal. And, we don't care about what nobody says. As long as we know in this locker room who that guy is, hey, that's the only thing that matters."
But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted Romo will have to win a Super Bowl to shut up his naysayers. Romo has one playoff win since he became the team's starter in the middle of the 2006 season.
"There is [doubt] about every quarterback I've been associated with until they win a Super Bowl," Jones said after the game. "They had doubts about Staubach, doubts about Aikman, until they won the Super Bowl. I think to remove all doubts or to really squash the naysayers, I do think you've got to win a Super Bowl. Plays like negative plays always are magnified when you haven't got those stripes on your shoulder."