Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo returns to help Cowboys win, keep hope alive for playoffs

Tony Romo on the Downpour That Greeted His Return

Tony Romo postgame press conference when he was asked if he saw the humor in the downpour that greeted his return.
Up Next
Tony Romo postgame press conference when he was asked if he saw the humor in the downpour that greeted his return.

The Dallas Cowboys still face an uphill climb to do what many believe is impossible.

Going on an undefeated run, or something close to it, to end the season and make the playoffs remains a dream, but it should no longer be considered fantasy.

At least, not in the minds of the Cowboys, not after Sunday’s 24-14 victory against the Miami Dolphins before 65,115 fans at a rain-soaked Sun Life Stadium on Sunday.

The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak, but it also kept them undefeated with quarterback Tony Romo at the helm.

Talkin' Cowboys

No team has ever rallied from a 2-7 start to make the playoffs. But this is a different team with Romo back after missing seven games and the seven losses with a fractured collarbone.

More to the point, this is the team the Cowboys hoped to have coming into the season when they wanted to build on last season’s 12-4 campaign and try to earn their first Super Bowl berth in 20 years.

The Cowboys (3-7) believe anything is possible with Romo.

Dez Bryant talked about the taunting penalty he and Terrance Williams drew Sunday. Video by Drew Davison.

“Today was a heck of a start with him just coming back because we’re 3-0 and undefeated with Romo,” owner Jerry Jones said. “You know our schedule. It’s going to be hard. Can he [Romo] make the difference? Absolutely. He can do that. It’s a dream, but not a fantasy.”

Romo, who played for the first time since starting the season 2-0 before suffering a fractured collarbone against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 20, wasn’t perfect and showed some rust with two interceptions.

But he was effective in passing for touchdowns of 31 yards and 16 yards to Terrance Williams and Dez Bryant and inspirational in helping the Cowboys get their first win since he was injured against the Philadelphia Eagles eight weeks ago.

Tony Romo after the Cowboys' victory over the Dolphins.

Romo got the day started by completing his first pass in two months with his left hand. In the end, Romo was Romo, completing 18 of 28 passes for 227 yards and leading his team to victory.

“I didn’t envision my two-month layoff coming back with a left-hander,” Romo said. “But I did practice that about seven or eight years ago, so I was ready for it. I think more than anything it felt good to come back and play football, and to help your team win.”

Read Next

Romo’s presence helped open up the running game.

Running back Darren McFadden had 129 yards on 29 carries as the Cowboys controlled the clock for 38 minutes, 50 seconds.

Romo’s play sparked Williams, who caught four passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown to Bryant was the 50th scoring toss between the two, surpassing the team record set by Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin.

Greg Hardy says he's focused on next game. Views game against former team, Carolina, as "nameless, faceless" opponent. Video by Drew Davison.

Linebacker Rolando McClain added a 12-yard interception return for a touchdown in what was a complete team victory against the Dolphins.

Romo made a difference. He is the savior of our season.

Cowboys defensive end Jeremy Mincey

The defense, which held the Dolphins to 1 of 10 on third down, added three sacks. The Dolphins gained 3 yards on 11 plays in the fourth quarter.

“What a difference a quarterback makes,” defensive end Jeremy Mincey said.

“Romo made a difference. He is the savior of our season. He came in and did a great job and gave us a lot of energy. He wasn’t perfect, but he made the plays.”

The Cowboys are 16-4 when Romo starts and 0-8 when he doesn’t since the start of 2014.

Backups Brandon Weeden, who has since been cut, and Matt Cassel went 0-7 in place of Romo this season.

The Cowboys are 16-4 when Romo starts and 0-8 when he doesn’t since the start of 2014.

Read Next

“Tony’s a great football player and has been for a long time and having him back in the lineup certainly helps our football team,” coach Jason Garrett said. “I thought Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassell, when they were there, I thought they competed the right way.

“But Tony comes back and he’s able to make some plays. The confidence that he has spreads to the rest of our football team, not only the guys on offense but the guys on defense and the kicking game.”

The Cowboys are two games behind the division-leading New York Giants (5-5) and one game behind the Washington Redskins (4-6) and Philadelphia Eagles (4-6).

With Romo back, the Cowboys have renewed hope about the postseason and title run in the mediocre NFC East.

The Cowboys are two games behind the division-leading New York Giants (5-5), who were on a bye Sunday, and one game behind the Washington Redskins (4-6) and Philadelphia Eagles (4-6).

Still, they might have to win them all or come close to it as Romo tweeted last week for the Cowboys to win the division and reach the playoffs.

It doesn’t get any easier with a Thanksgiving Day test coming up in four days against the undefeated Carolina Panthers (10-0) at AT&T Stadium. The Panthers crushed the Redskins 44-16 on Sunday.

“The football character of this team is outstanding. A tremendous work ethic, tremendous competitive spirit and I think we’ve demonstrated that over the last couple of months,” Garrett said. “Unfortunately, we haven’t done the things necessary to win games, but today we were able to do that.”

Romo and the Cowboys have a history of beating unbeatens with victories against the 10-0 Indianapolis Colts in 2006 and the 13-0 New Orleans Saints in 2009.

It allows you to feel good because you believe in what you were doing.

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten on beating the Dolphins

Today, the Cowboys are just happy with getting that first win in Romo’s return and ending their longest losing streak since they went 1-15 in 1989.

“It allows you to feel good because you believe in what you were doing,” tight end Jason Witten said. “We believe. You enjoy it for a little bit and you get back to it. It’s more about resolve and the way we approach it. Our mentality is one game at a time. We got one.”

Read Next

The Cowboys blew fourth-quarter leads in three of the seven losses and six of the seven losses were within a score in the fourth quarter.

Against the Dolphins, the Cowboys dominated the final quarter.

Romo’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Bryant gave them a 21-14 lead on the first play of the quarter.

An 18-yard punt return by Lucky Whitehead set up a 30-yard field goal from Dan Bailey and a 24-14 lead on the next drive.

The defense and McFadden closed things out from there.

McFadden had nine carries for 40 yards over the final 6 minutes as the Cowboys played keep away.

The defense held the Dolphins to one first down in the fourth quarter and recorded two its three sacks on the final possession.

“You see the biggest problem we’ve had is executing in the fourth quarter,” linebacker Sean Lee said. “I think defensively we got off the field a couple of times in the fourth quarter and I thought our offense with that drive at the end, convert first down after first down, running that ball downhill.

“Those two things I think is why we were able to win that game, something we haven’t done through that stretch.”

That and Romo coming back has them dreaming again.

It’s still going to be tough.

But it’s no longer fantasy.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments