Even on the road, the chorus of "Romo!, Romo!" from Cowboys fans was easily audible at the start of the second half on Sunday.
Tony Romo told the coaching staff after pregame warmups he wasn't up to playing with a broken right pinkie. He was in uniform, giving fans false hope, but they were stuck with former Buc Brad Johnson. The 40-year-old backup couldn't keep up with a suddenly potent, opportunistic Rams offense, throwing three interceptions.
Steven Jackson ran for 160 yards on 25 carries with three touchdowns and the Rams looked like contenders instead of sad sacks for the second straight game under new coach Jim Haslett in a surprisingly easy 34-14 victory.
"It was a tough day for all of us," Johnson said. "We had miscues across the board."
Owner Jerry Jones admitted after the game that he thought the Cowboys had enough to beat the Rams despite Romo's injury and the suspension of cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones. Adding to the woes, Jones said after the game that safety Roy Williams would miss the rest of the season after breaking his right forearm for the second time.
"I just was thinking a little lighter than I should have about this ballgame," Jones said. "I'm not speaking for this team, but I was."
The Rams won 19-17 at Washington last week in their first game since Haslett replaced Scott Linehan.
"I think it's just the will of the players, more than anything," Haslett said. "I thought they played extremely well today, in all three phases."
The St. Louis defense did its part, forcing four turnovers for the second straight game. Oshiomogho Atogwe, who had two interceptions, scored the lone touchdown against the Redskins last week on a fumble recovery.
Jackson pulled a quadriceps muscle in the fourth quarter just before Haslett said he was going to take him out, and was to have an MRI exam. But Jackson thought he'd be fine for next week's game at New England.
Marion Barber had 100 yards on 18 carries and the game's opening touchdown for Dallas.
There were not many more highlights for the Cowboys, who lost for the third time in four games. Newly acquired receiver Roy Williams, no relation to the safety, saw limited action and said he was shut out for the first time in his career.
Jones had to defend his coach and say that Wade Phillips' job is not in danger. "No, it is not," Jones said. "Emphatically, no."
Jones said the 1-3 stretch, on the heels of a 3-0 start, was a good time to assess the state of the franchise, but not to make sweeping changes.