Tony Romo's rally against Giants shows he's playing the best football of his career
Here’s something to chew on for a few minutes. Tony Romo authored his 27th career fourth-quarter or overtime comeback during the Dallas Cowboys’ 31-28 win over the New York Giants. The game-winning heroics moved Romo into a tie for fifth-place among active quarterbacks with Atlanta’s Matt Ryan.
The five quarterbacks ahead of the pair have all led at least 30 such comebacks. All have won Super Bowls.
Romo lovers will finally say he’s on his way to the big one, meaning Super Bowl XLIX in February in Arizona. Romo haters will say, “Well, that just means the Cowboys can’t hold a lead.”
The game-winning heroics moved Romo into a tie for fifth-place among active quarterbacks with Atlanta’s Matt Ryan.
Against the Giants it meant Romo was the difference between winning and losing. Whether it means the Cowboys will play meaningful games in January remains to be seen. But with the win the Cowboys matched their win total of each of the last three years.
The Cowboys lost a lead they fought hard to get back with three minutes remaining. Giants quarterback Eli Manning was authoring some magic of his own with a drive that lasted more than six minutes and ended with a touchdown, putting the Giants up four, 28-24.
Manning is one of those five active quarterbacks with more game-winning drives than Romo and a Super Bowl ring, if you’re wondering.
Romo and the Cowboys took over the ball at their own 20, and you could just sense the calm. Of course, Romo’s done it before.
“When there’s 40 seconds on the clock with no timeouts, that’s different than two minutes on the clock with three timeouts,” Romo told NBC’s Michelle Tafoya after the game. “So you’ve been through it, and you can kind of give yourself an advantage mentally knowing how to attack defenses that day, and you go do it.”
Four plays into the drive, Romo hit on his first big play of the possession, a 21-yard pass to Cole Beasley, who had caught one of Romo’s four touchdown passes of the night. The next play was a 15-yard pass over the middle to Jason Witten, a play that came with Romo’s sitting in the pocket for an absurd seven seconds. It was so absurd NBC actually felt compelled to time it.
“It was really amazing,” Romo told Tafoya. “You might be afforded three snaps like that all year.”
Well, two plays later, Romo found himself setting back in the pocket with nearly nothing to do again. His offensive line gave him more than six seconds to find Dez Bryant in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with 1:01 left in the game.
Romo might be in the midst of the most efficient season of his career. His total passing yardage, as compared to years past, is down. He’s thrown for only 2,244 yards this year. We’re used to seeing him close to 3,000 yards by this point.
But his completion rate (68.8) is hovering near his career high of 69.5 percent in 2010. He’s on a career-low pace for turnovers in a 16-game season; he has just seven through 11 games. Plus, his quarterback rating — that complicated and convoluted formula the NFL uses to measure a quarterback’s efficiency — is at a career-best 107.2.
His quarterback rating against the Giants was 143.4, the fourth time this year his quarterback rating was better than 135.0.
Romo is playing the best football of his career, when you look at his entire game. Plus, he now has an offensive line that gives him loads of protection and a running game that, finally, puts him in a position where he doesn’t have to do it all for the Cowboys to win.
But it’s nice to know that Romo can do it when you need it. And the Cowboys might need a few more of those if they expect to make a playoff run.