From the very start of the Cowboys Thanksgiving showdown with the Panthers, we knew things were not quite right with Tony Romo. On the opening possession, Romo fired an interception to Kurt Coleman – who promptly returned it for a touchdown and a 7-0 Panthers lead.
Romo came right back out on the field for just three plays, as the Cowboys punted and gave Carolina the ball at the 22. Cam Newton would put them into field goal range, as Graham Gano made his first kick of the day from 49 yards out – extending the lead to 10-0.
It was time for the Cowboys to get something going, and they did on the ensuing possession as Cole Beasley converted a third and seventeen. The drive would go down to the three-yard line, but the Cowboys failed to turn it into seven points.
Dan Bailey put them on the board, making the score 10-3.
After forcing a punt, Romo missed a deep throw to Dez Bryant on third down which brought up a Cowboys punt. Starting from the 27, the Panthers once again put three points on the board with Gano and led 13-3.
This is where things started to unravel for the Cowboys. Down by ten, Romo threw his second interception to Luke Kuechly. The star linebacker cashed it in for seven, marking the second interpception returned for a touchdown in the first half by the Panthers.
Just moments later, Kuechly got his hands on a second straight pick, likely causing Cowboys fans to call for dessert to be served a bit early.
If you hung around to watch the ensuing Panthers drive, you watched Cam Newton take the ball down to the three yard line before the Cowboys defense stepped up and forced a field goal try. Byron Jones broke up a would-be touchdown on third down.
The Cowboys trailed 23-3 at the half, in need of a spark to fight back against the 10-0 Panthers.
Tyrone Crawford appeared to provide a small spark, sacking Newton at the one yard line on the first possesion of the second half. Dallas once again could not capitalize with a touchdown, only managing a second field goal off of the great field position.
Carolina would put up a back breaking touchdown on the next drive, as they converted a third and seventeen on the way to a field goal try. On the kick, Byron Jones was called for unsportsmanslike conduct by jumping over the top of the line.
The Cowboys forced a third and ten on the next series, just to see the Panthers convert. One play later, Newton took it himself for the score and a 30-6 lead.
As if things could get any worse, the Cowboys offense came back out trailling by 24 and once again saw Tony Romo go down with an injury. Thomas Davis broke through the line, sacking Romo with a hit to his previously injured shoulder and leaving him on the turf.
No official update has been given, but another break would cause Romo to miss the remainder of the season. Matt Cassel came in as the Cowboys punted, and the Panthers put their final points of the day on the board – extending the lead to 33-6.
On Cassel’s first full drive, the Dallas offense marched 80 yards for their only touchdown of the night. The sixteen play drive was capped off by Cole Beasley, producing the final score of 33-14.
The now 3-8 Cowboys will play the Redskins on Monday Night Football in Washington.
The 11-0 Panthers will be in the Superdome to face the Saints.