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No Romo spells trouble for Cowboys

AP Photo/James D. Smith

A source tells ESPN that Tony Romo will miss the remainder of the season.

The day after throwing a game-winning touchdown to put the Dallas Cowboys in a winner-take-all game against the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday night, Tony Romo’s luck took a drastic turn.

A source tells ESPN that Romo will miss the remainder of the season with a back injury. Here is a look at how much he will be missed in Big D:

Romo vs. all others

It has been all Romo in Dallas since 2006. He made his first career start in Week 8 of that season. He has missed 13 games since becoming the starter.

Cowboys Starting QBs
Since Week 8 2006*

Jon Kitna (nine games), Brad Johnson (three) and Stephen McGee (one), have started in relief of Romo since 2006. They have won a combined six of those 13 starts while enjoying far less success throwing the ball.

Romo has thrown 31 touchdown passes this season, tied for the second-highest total in Cowboys’ history and five shy of the team record, which he set in 2007. Romo is the only quarterback in team history to throw for 30 or more touchdown passes in a season. He's done so three times.

The replacement

The Cowboys have two quarterbacks on their roster – Romo and Kyle Orton. Orton is 35-34 in 69 career starts, but he has not started since Jan. 1, 2012.

Orton signed with the Cowboys prior to the 2012 season and has not been seen much since. Romo has thrown 98.7 percent of the Cowboys’ passes since then – the 11th highest rate for any quarterback in the NFL.

Kyle Orton
Career As Starting QB

Orton has attempted just 15 passes over the last two seasons and those came in a pair of blowouts when the Cowboys were trailing by 24 points.

In 2011, he started eight games for the Denver Broncos (five) and Kansas City Chiefs (three). Orton had a 59.5 percent completion percentage that season (ranked 20th in the NFL), 7.0 yards per attempt (17th), and a total QBR of 52.4 (18th).

Can they still rely on the pass?

Few teams lean on the pass as much as the Cowboys have this season.

Dallas owns the fifth highest dropback percentage this season at 66 percent. The Cleveland Browns have the highest percentage at 70 percent.

The Cowboys may have to change it up and feed running back DeMarco Murray on Sunday night. This season, 17 running backs have averaged more rushes per game than Murray’s 15.4, despite the fact that Murray is averaging 5.4 yards per rush.