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Cowboys vs. Bears: Time to panic?

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Will this be the epitaph of the Tony Romo era in Dallas? Would Kyle Orton be a better option behind center? It's all on the table after a disastrous showing on Monday Night Football.

Ronald Martinez - Getty Images

** A discussion between two members of the SB Nation Dallas staff driving away from the scene of the crime.

Willie Funk: Well that certainly didn't go as planned. The Football Palace hosted a Romo debacle that quickly escalated from bad at the wrong times to total garbage. There was a tipped pass, but also two misses on sure touchdowns. I lauded Romo's performance against the Giants, but Monday's display was simply unreal for all the wrong reasons. The line play was better, and there were a couple plays that should have been made by his receivers, but Dallas' second most apathetic sports star [redacted Hamilton] was downright awful. In short, it looked like SMU's Garrett Gilbert threw on a Tony Romo mask in a quest to acheive a 10 interception weekend. Choke for Geno Smith?

John Stathas: For a while there I was pretty sure Gilbert was under center for Dallas' other team. I've been fighting to suppress my Romophobia this season, but tonight caused my hatred to resurface. The offensive line play was solid tonight so Romo had nobody to blame but himself. The Bears defense almost outscored their offense ... and all thanks to Romo. On a positive note, Romo distributed the ball well, but unfortunately it was to the wrong team.

I think the best way I can describe his behavior is that he was slanging rugby passes to Los Osos. Unacceptable. Other than Demarco Murray's incessant attempts to get his neck snapped when he ducks his head, a Romo dropback is one of the most frightening sights seen by cowboys fans on Monday. On the other side, Jay Cutty was dealing. He finally has the big receivers he needs and J'Marcus Webb figured out how to slow down DeMarcus Ware a little bit. If that dude has time, Smokin' Jay Cutler is a star. And he didn't even really have the running game today! On the plus side, the Cows' defense only gave up half the points allowed. End of the day, Son of Ramiro lost his first game of the season for the 'Boys.

Stathas: Usually when you have an abundance of garbage, you throw it away like a parking ticket. So do the Cowboys employ the same strategy? He's Tony Romo? I think the biggest hurdle with that move is that no NFL team would take him. Rex Ryan is probably sitting up in NYC thinking to himself, "And I thought I had problems. I'll see how far Sanchez and Tebow can take me." At this point, I'm ready to see what Kyle Orton can do. We have a running game and a solid defense. Maybe if we had Trent Dilfer 2.0 we could win a Super Bowl. There probably isn't even anything to lose. Jerry Jones will still stack dollars peddling mindless entertainment to the drunken plebians in his 21st century colliseum. I mean, what else will drive a man to spend $9 on a beer other than watching Tony Romo throw touchdowns to the wrong team?

Funk: I must say, I really respect that overreaction. I would love to put on for a Tebow trade at this point, but I think there's still a glimmer of hope for family man Tony. He's too good to be Dilfer, not nearly good enough to carry the team. He needs to find a balance between being the hero and being a handoff machine. I don't know if he's willing or able to do it. Despite the success of the running game, the coach, the franchise and the city seem hell bent on making him Dirk of the Cowboys. He's just not that good. He has flashes, but he's not capable of that. Period. People will point to the Giants game, but be serious -- that was the fourth and fifth corners they were throwing on pro bowl Miles and Dez. Speaking of Dez, that kid is a monster. He had a bad drop on the one corner route Romo threw properly, but otherwise he's unreal. And I don't want to hear that he caused that interception on the option route in the first half. Romo stared him down and didn't make the read that's essential to a successful option route. I hate to keep harping on Romo's failures, but Dez was another positive in an otherwise tragic display by Dallas' finest.

Stathas: See I'm not sold on Dez yet. It seems like he enjoys playing football about as much as Josh Hamilton loves playing baseball. The talent is there, the talk is there, but until he shows me a consistant four-quarter elite performance, I'm not buying. He'll give you a half filled with several unreal catches, but like Hamilton, he'll go up there and swing and miss, hoping you'll love him for the occasional home run he hits. Of course, that home run comes when you need it least. I hate to keep on with the baseball references, but it seems to me like we have a team full of fastball hitters. Keep throwing them straight balls and they'll knock it out of the park. Break off a curveball and it's strikeout after strikeout.

I'll disagree with that. Dez is passionate about the game almost to a fault in my estimation. He needs to work on the mental aspect of the game and keeping composed, and that's about it. But, again, the story of the game is Tony Romo. The Romo apologists need to get real. He's a good quarterback, but a great, franchise centerpiece quarterback does not toss throw five interceptions on national television. For context, Peyton Manning threw 3 and it was a national crisis. Time to rethink the gameplan and see if DeMarco and Demarcus can carry the 'Boys to the playoffs, or a least respectability.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.