ST. LOUIS - The chant from the sizable contingent of Dallas Cowboys fans began early in the third quarter.
"Romo ... Romo ... Romo ...!"
By then, it was far too late. Quarterback Tony Romo, sidelined by a broken right pinkie, or even Roger Staubach or Troy Aikman, couldn't have saved the imploding Cowboys against the resurgent St. Louis Rams yesterday at the Edward Jones Dome.
For one day at least, the Rams (2-4) turned back the clock to the high-flying, Greatest Show on Turf days with a 34-14 dismantling of Dallas.
Romo's backup, Brad Johnson, 40, guided the Cowboys (4-3) to a touchdown on the game's opening drive, but the Rams retaliated with touchdowns on their first three possessions - a 42-yard bomb from quarterback Marc Bulger to rookie Donnie Avery and the first two of three touchdown runs by Steven Jackson.
It was the first time St. Louis had scored three touchdowns in an opening quarter since its last Super Bowl season of 2001.
And once Josh Brown's 52-yard field goal at the end of the first half gave the Rams a 24-7 lead, it was all over but the shouting for Romo.
Romo, his hand encased in a protective wrap, went through an extensive workout 90 minutes before kickoff and threw to wide receivers Terrell Owens and Miles Austin. Romo, who suffered the broken finger in last week's overtime loss at Arizona, got through that test but experienced too much pain taking snaps and handing off during the team portion of the pre-game warm-up, and he was listed as the second quarterback to Johnson.
Owens caught two harmless passes for 31 yards, and Roy Williams, who was acquired from Detroit last week and signed to a five-year, $45 million extension, hardly played and did not have a catch.