Tony Romo played with a ligament he tore in his left ring finger last week. He played through a cleat to the left knee, limping out of the locker room.
Nothing kept him down until an overturned call on fourth down in the fourth quarter allowed the Green Bay Packers to regain possession and run out the clock.
That had the Cowboys down and out.
“Just to lose in general is disappointing,” Romo said. “I have played long enough to understand that you don’t have these kinds of teams on your side to play in these games consistently. When you leave that opportunity, you want to take advantage.
“It just doesn’t feel very good right now, because you feel like you let one slip away and that you had an opportunity with a good ball lub that had a chance to win this thing. That is going to eat at you for a while.”
Romo’s family shared long hugs with him — trying to console him — before he left Lambeau Field. He departed his home state feeling as if he came as close as ever to earning his first Super Bowl ring.
The Cowboys were convinced they could beat the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game after winning in Seattle during the regular season.
Instead, Romo’s postseason record fell to 2-4, leaving the Cowboys to play the what-if game next week when the Packers play the Seahawks in the NFC title game.
“I think we had a football team that had the opportunity [to win it all],” Romo said. “We weren’t perfect by any means, but we were good enough to have a chance. It’s disappointing.”
Even Romo’s harshest critics will have a hard time pinning this loss on him. He completed 15 of 19 passes for 191 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 143.6 passer rating.
After playing with back injuries all season, Romo played with finger and knee injuries Sunday. His finger began noticeably bothering him in the second quarter on a 38-yard touchdown throw to Terrance Williams, which is a reason he couldn’t handle a shotgun snap at the end of the half.
“I banged it up last week,” he said of his finger. “I don’t know what it is, what the term is. It goes dead at the tip. I wasn’t real comfortable there in the first half, so we ended up taping it up and it felt fine the rest of the way. That was obviously something that you just deal with.”
He isn’t sure exactly how his knee got banged up and his sock ripped, but he had a hard time getting up after a hit from Micah Hyde on a 15-yard completion to Jason Witten in the third quarter.
Still, Romo never missed a beat.
“You have heard me say this before, but I just believe it so much in my heart that Tony Romo’s greatest traits are his physical and mental toughness,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “All the great players in this league have those traits. Tony certainly exhibits them week in and week out. He certainly has done it all year long, and he certainly demonstrated that today.
“When things didn’t go our way, he kept battling back. When people hit him, he kept battling back. He made critical throws throughout this ballgame and gave us a great chance to win it at the end.”