Gil LeBreton

Romo and Cowboys’ traveling circus roll on

Clearly, this is why Tony Romo makes the big bucks.

And why the Dallas Cowboys drafted burly linemen to protect him.

And why this season, after 17 years of disappointing finishes, finally looks like the real thing.

The Ready-for-Prime-Time thing. The We’ve-Got-This thing.

Nashville. St. Louis. Seattle. London.

The Jerry Jones Traveling Circus rolled on Sunday night. In the Jersey Meadowlands, where Cowboys dreams have faded before, quarterback Romo and his supporting cast finally pulled the plug on what had been the Odell Beckham Jr. Show.

The old football adage says that when the clock is running down and the game is on the line, you want your best unit on the field. In the Cowboys’ case, that would be Romo and the offense.

The 80-yard march to the winning touchdown — a Romo to Dez Bryant pass — validated that Sunday.

Romo, signed to a $108 million contract, was flawless throughout the seven-play march. But two plays seemed to embody what’s different about this Cowboys offense — and about this Cowboys season.

On two of Romo’s six pass completions in the drive, his offensive line presented him with five, six — no, seven — seconds and more to find an open receiver.

Romo was hot. The Giants were gassed.

The Cowboys are 8-3 headed to a Thanksgiving showdown with the Eagles. The circus is rolling on.

For the first two quarters, however, Met Life Stadium served as a prime-time starring role for the Giants’ rookie receiver, Beckham.

He finished with 10 catches, none more circuslike in their own right than a leaping, falling-away, one-handed, 43-yard touchdown grab he made in the second quarter.

By halftime the rookie from LSU — and, coincidentally, from quarterback Eli Manning’s same New Orleans high school — had eight pass receptions, rocking the Cowboys defense back on its heels.

For the Giants, though, now 3-8 on the season, the game swung the other way with a familiar thud.

Poised at the Cowboys’ 18-yard line, Manning threw behind receiver Preston Parker and hit Dallas safety Barry Church right in the jersey numbers.

Church returned the interception 45 yards to the Cowboys’ 48, and Romo hit Bryant for a go-ahead touchdown in just four plays.

By halftime the Cowboys’ defense had given up 15 first downs and 237 yards. Worse, Manning was 14-of-16 passing, and New York had converted seven of eight third-down opportunities.

The Cowboys’ defense, sufficient if not spectacular all season, appeared to have lapsed into old ways.

But hold on. They’ve got this.

Doubling Beckham, who retired to the locker room temporarily with a back injury, and shutting down the New York running game, the defense allowed Romo to take control of the game.

If Romo is worried about his post-surgical back, or if his slowed feet have robbed him of any elusiveness, he’s continuing to redefine himself.

And his offensive line is allowing him plenty of time to thumb through the dictionary for that new definition.

There seems no way for an opposing defense to cover Bryant for more than seven seconds. There’s no way that, with that kind of time, Romo can’t find somebody, anybody, to get the football to.

With two games this week in five days, a loss here in the Jersey Meadowlands might have started an ominous slide for the Cowboys.

But with the game on the line, Romo and his supporting cast quelled that fear Sunday night.

Nashville. St. Louis. Seattle. London.

And now New York.

They’ve got this. Or so it seems so far.

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