SAN FRANCISCO — For the first time since Romo retired, his teammates looked on and saw a quarterback who’d lost everything, including the heart and mind of his teammates.
When it came time for the Giants to take the field Sunday against the Bills, they saw a man who had been knocked out by a neck injury that cost him his first NFL start.
The team’s players have rallied around Romo since his neck surgery in April and he was in the locker room Sunday with a limp.
After being removed from the field, Romo sat on the sideline, looking exhausted.
He didn’t speak to the media after the game.
He was still in pain, he said.
“I have been feeling better since I got out here,” he said, “but I have to be careful.
It’s all about timing.”
The Giants (6-5) were up 21-0 early in the fourth quarter when Romo returned to the field after missing the last six weeks with a neck problem.
Romo was able to run out the clock to tie the game at 17-all, but he couldn’t keep the Bills (6 -5) out of the end zone when he fumbled a punt that bounced off his helmet.
Eli Manning recovered the fumble, but the Giants trailed by three points.
They scored the next three points to take a 23-17 lead.
The Giants kept the momentum and drove to the Bills 17, where rookie safety Tre’Davious White was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
After an ugly punt return, the Bills scored the tying touchdown on a 2-yard run by rookie receiver Corey Grant.
“It’s tough for a guy like me to be in this position,” Grant said.
It was a difficult moment for the rookie, who was coming off a season-ending surgery on his left shoulder.
He had to wear a brace and take a lot of shots to help heal the shoulder.
“This is a tough situation,” Grant told reporters after the win.
“Especially in a game like this.”
The Bills won the next two games, including a 17-13 victory in the season finale, but Romo was back for a win Sunday.
He went 9 of 13 for 87 yards and two touchdowns in the Giants’ victory.
He also rushed for a touchdown on the Giants touchdown drive.
“He was pretty much on fire and had some big games,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
He finished 10 of 17 for 110 yards and a touchdown.
“That was his day.
He put his hands up, he made a big play, he scored, he got his head up,” Coughlinell said.
Eli was even more impressive.
The rookie receiver caught all five passes thrown his way for 115 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown to Grant on the Bills’ opening drive.
But after Grant broke a 52-yard receiving tie-up, Eli ran a play-action pass that went for a 10-yard loss.
“There’s a little bit of frustration in the game, but that’s Eli,” said Giants running back Rashad Jennings, who had a career-high 71 yards.
“A lot of people in this league have played this game.
Eli has played it, he’s had it.
That’s why he’s a Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
He’s been through this.
Rookie receiver Kenny Stills was the Giants most consistent receiver with three catches for 45 yards. “
Just to get a win like that, to have a great win like we had, it’s great.”
Rookie receiver Kenny Stills was the Giants most consistent receiver with three catches for 45 yards.
He has three catches in all competitions this season.
He said the injury to Romo is a major blow.
“To lose him so soon, it was a tough loss,” Stills said.
The Bills are 3-2 in the first round of the playoffs.
“We’ve got a lot to prove,” Jennings said.