Following a worrisome and debilitating loss to San Francisco in Week 1, the quickly sinking Dallas Cowboys have ruled four players out as they face the rising Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Week 2.
Cowboys linebacker Justin Durant (groin), defensive ends Anthony Spencer (knee) and Lavar Edwards (knee) and reserve tackle Darrion Weems are expected to miss Sunday’s game, with safety C.J. Spillman listed as questionable, though he was a limited participant in practice Friday.
Behind four turnovers, including three consecutive interceptions from quarterback Tony Romo and running back DeMarco Murray’s fumble leading to a 35-yard touchdown return, Dallas dropped its season opener 28-17 last week to the 49ers.
Many questioned if Romo should have been playing at all , as the 34-year-old appeared uncomfortable in the pocket for most of the game, and underwent back surgery in the offseason. But head coach Jason Garrett said Romo needed the reps to find his old form.
“When players come back off of an injury, you have to have a plan for them to get themselves healthy,” Garrett said to ESPN. “We thought it was important to do the things we did to give him an opportunity to play (Sunday). Sure you want more reps. You want more reps for everybody. That’s the nature of it.
“Was he as sharp as he’s been in his life? No. He made some bad decisions in this game that really hurt us. There were some other throws that weren’t perfect. But there were some good throws, too.”
Despite his fumble, Murray lit up San Francisco’s typically staunch rush defense to gain 118 yards and score one touchdown. It was the eighth 100-plus yard game of Murray’s career.
Unfortunately Romo was also sacked three times, and couldn’t find top receiver Dez Bryant enough to get Dallas back into the game. Bryant totaled four receptions for 55 yards, snapping his streak of five consecutive games with at least one touchdown.
The Titans will also miss a key contributor for the rest of the season as they look for their first 2-0 start since 2008, but they are riding high after their season opening 26-10 win over the Chiefs.
They held Kansas City to 245 total offensive yards (forcing three interceptions) and contained dynamic running back Jamaal Charles, while quarterback Jake Locker managed to stay healthy. Plagued by injuries since he entered the league, Locker went 22-for-33 for 266 yards and two touchdowns, and Tennessee put up a combined 162 yards on the ground.
The Titans, however, did lose starting inside linebacker Zach Brown on the fourth play of the victory. Brown tore a pectoral muscle and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
"He was really doing a nice job, so I'm disappointed for Zach," Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt told the Daily News Journal. "To me, it means a lot when you do what is being asked of you and you change the perception of you. And I was hopeful that would continue from the standpoint of him having a good season. At this point, this juncture, it won't, and that's too bad."
Defensive lineman Mike Martin (hamstring) is also listed as questionable, and if he sits out Karl Klug should move up as Jurrell Casey’s backup.
Start Time: 1 p.m. EST
TV Channel: FOX
Betting Odds: Tennessee -3.5
Over/Under: 49 points
Prediction: Tennessee 30, Dallas 23