The much-anticipated, long-awaited return of Tony Romo happened in the second quarter Sunday. His appearance wasn’t long, but it was successful.
The Cowboys’ quarterback completed three of four passes for 29 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown to Terrance Williams. Romo’s 134.4 passer rating was the highest of any of the four quarterbacks who played for either team in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 27-13 victory.
“It’s good and fun to play football,” Romo said. “It’s enjoyable to go have a little success playing football. I kind of do that at practice each day. You get those same feelings, those competitive vibes.
“I know it’s more people watching [during a game than practice], but I treat them all the same way. I know what happens out here is going to be a lot more talked about than what happens in practice. It feels good to kind of do what you’ve been doing, and you take it from there.”
His 2-minute, 49-second appearance could end up being Romo’s final game action in a Cowboys uniform. Dak Prescott will start the divisional-round playoff game in two weeks, and unless Prescott is injured, Romo will remain on the sideline.
But no one — not Romo, owner Jerry Jones, coach Jason Garrett or Romo’s best friend, Jason Witten — was looking to next year when it seems probable that Romo will continue his career elsewhere.
Instead, they all were living in the moment.
“He was outstanding,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “It’s like riding a bike for him. Things slowed down for him, and he was able to do all the things that we know he can do. It sure makes us feel good sitting here as we go into the playoffs knowing we’ve got two great quarterbacks on this roster.”
Romo had not played since Thanksgiving of last season, 402 days ago, when he fractured his left collarbone for a second time. Then, he broke a bone in his back during the preseason.
“Good,” Romo said when asked about his health. “I feel better now than I did last year. There is no question about that.”
Prescott played both series of the first quarter before giving way to Romo. Romo threw a deep pass intended for Williams on his first attempt for his only incompletion, but it set a tone for the series.
Five plays later, Romo had the Cowboys in the end zone. He raised his index finger and offered a wide smile following his 248th career touchdown pass.
“All touchdowns feel good,” Romo said. “That part of it felt good, throwing a touchdown. Weirdly, you kind of expect it when you go out there. ‘Let’s go out here and throw a touchdown.’ I know that sounds silly, but you expect to go out there and do something well. In that regard, it felt normal.”
Prescott was among the first to greet Romo when he arrived to the sideline, and Williams awarded Romo the touchdown ball.
“For him to go through all of his hardships, to go out there and throw a touchdown, that’s all to his credit,” Williams said. “My job was just to go out there and do the play he called, and Tony did a great job just leading us down the field, and that’s typical Tony.”