Posted November 25, 2013

Tony Romo continues to swim against the narrative with another fourth-quarter drive

Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, NFC East
Tony Romo took his team back to the top of the NFC East.

Tony Romo took his team back to the top of the NFC East. (Bill Kostroun/AP)

If you were to guess, based on pure overall narrative, which NFL quarterback has the most fourth-quarter comebacks or game-winning drives since the start of the 2011 season, you would most certainly not pick Tony Romo unless you have a unique gift for foreshadowing, or a particularly interesting sense of humor. But for all the talk about Romo’s meltdowns and failures at various points throughout his career, he’s the one with that claim to fame. And in Dallas’ 24-21 win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Romo engineered his 11th drive since 2011 in which his trailing or tied team pulled out a win in the fourth quarter or overtime. The final blow was dealt by kicker Dan Bailey with a 35-yard field goal as time elapsed, but Romo set it up with a 14-play, 64-yard drive, and he completed nine of his 15 passes for 82 yards in the final 15 minutes.

Earlier, it looked as if the Cowboys would play to the narrative and goof this one up. Dallas went ahead 21-6 in the third quarter when Romo hit tight end Jason Witten with a two-yard touchdown pass — one of two Witten caught on the night — before the Giants came back with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion to tie the game up. And as it was Tom Coughlin’s team on the hot streak with four wins a row, it would have surprised nobody if Romo and the Cowboys collapsed. But he reversed the momentum and put his team in a position to win. No, it wasn’t the playoff triumph everyone expects before they’ll call him a “winner” or some such nonsense, but it was the best he could possibly do in the here and now.

“First of all, I thought it was a great drive,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said after the game. “That’s when you separate yourself as a quarterback, as an offensive football team, and as a team in general — when you go down, and you’re able to make those drives in critical moments. The conditions were not easy today — it was cold and windy — and people had a hard time holding on to the football. We had a number of those types of plays throughout the game. But at the critical moments in this game, we call it ‘nut-cutting time,’ our quarterback stepped up and did one hell of a job. And the guys around him did a heck of a job, and we made the plays we needed to make when we needed to make them.”

Romo stuck with his main targets, hitting Dez Bryant for nine receptions on 16 targets for 102 yards, and targeting Witten seven times. Despite some offensive issues early on, he finished the game 23-of-38 for 205 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception.

And unlike in other moments throughout this season, Romo’s running game and defense seemed up to the challenge. DeMarco Murray ripped off a few impact plays, and a pass defense on pace to set an NFL record for yardage allowed gave up just 174 passing yards to Eli Manning.

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul notably said during the week that this game was “going to be a dogfight. There’s going to be a lot of blood spilled out there.” Romo was sacked four times, but Pierre-Paul didn’t log one of them. Cowboys defensive lineman Jason Hatcher, who added two sacks on the night to move his season total to nine, put Pierre-Paul in his place when a reporter asked him why his uniform was bloody.

“I just finished eating a Giant. That’s some leftover blood. They said blood was going to be shed, right? … When you feel disrespected as a team … Coming into somebody’s house and they don’t even respect you as a team? Yeah. I’m proud of my team. We’ve got a long ways to go. We just got to keep it up. We took this victory tonight. We took it.”

After the game, Romo’s mind was on that last drive, and the win that put him back on top of the NFC East at 6-5.

“You just try and stay on the task at hand,” he said. “Just think about each play, and what they’re wanting to do. You go back to your film study through the week, and you think about how they want to attack you. Stick to your guns until you see something a little different in certain plays, and go do it.”

For the Giants, there’s just a 4-7 record, and the thoughts of what might have been had they avoided that 0-6 start.

“It’s frustrating,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “It’s frustrating to know that we were kind of holding them the way we wanted to hold them. We played some good defense throughout the course of the game. I don’t think anything was pretty at all times on either side of the ball. Both teams fought, you have to take your hat off to both teams. They fought extremely hard and Dallas, you know, they came out on top.”

The Cowboys still have their share of issues. But the hope in Dallas is that this win can lead to greater things.

22 comments
CyranodeTylerac
CyranodeTylerac

"swim against the narrative"? WTF the Cowgirls are playing all teams with losing records the last five games-a dream finish to the season!

James179
James179

Wow...Amazing!!!!  Romo beat a crap team (clutch?).  He will either choke down the stretch or in the first game of the playoffs.

kcopen
kcopen

How is that swimming against the narrative? The narrative is that he is a great regular season QB. No one denies that. It's winning in the playoffs that will have him "swim against the narrative"

Aerdna
Aerdna

Eli has benefited from having a good running game and excellent high pressure defense to aid him in his super bowl seasons. Give Romo the same tools and he'd have as many if not more rings than the opportunistic younger Manning.

WolfgangGoethe
WolfgangGoethe

Tony Romo vs. Eli Manning in ice-cold, swirly, New York.  I'll take Tony.

fsurob21
fsurob21

if some of you people weren't so blinded by your hate and would take a second and actually READ the article you would notice it says "most fourth-quarter comebacks ORRRR game-winning drives".

game was tied. romo was clutch. you went to bed crying.

PritchBomb
PritchBomb

Exactly how is this a 'comeback' win for Tony Romo when Dallas was never behind. Congrats, Tony, on another epic win in the regular season against one of the worst teams in football. P.S. You're still overrated.

sunalsorises
sunalsorises

The Giants are a garbage team.  They got called for a lot of bush league penalties.  Dallas gets another win against a bad team.

John333
John333

Romo is better than people give him credit for, but Dallas will still not go far IF they make the playoffs.  Jerry needs to give up the reigns and allow a real football guy to run the show.  Otherwise, expect more mediocrity for the foreseeable future.

grkorbel
grkorbel

@kcopen The narrative is--and was expressed ad nauseum as the game went on-- that Romo would as he as done on numerous occassions, throw the killer pick or somehow screw the pooch.

It's a B.S. label--this choker thing. It does not square at all with the fact that for the past three seasons Romo has more fourth-quarter winning drives and comeback wins than any other quarterback in the league.

Warren Moon is in the Hall of Fame and his playoff record is 3-7 and NOBODY has ever attached the word choker to him. Fran Tarkenton and Jim Kelly went to the Super Bowl four times each and never one. Has anyone called them Super Bowl "chokers"? Is that their "narrative"?

It's an arbitrary standard that was pinned on Romo after a muffed snap--which resulted in an NFL rule change concerning K-Balls.

So, Romo is 1-3 in the playoffs? Is that the knock?

In his first playoff appearance, After protecting a 20-13 lead with a stop by the defense, the Cowboys fell behind when Terrry Glenn's fumble turned into a safety and Seattle followed with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Jerramy Stevens. But with Dallas down a point and 4:24 left, Romo drove the Cowboys right back down the field and into position for the win. Do you get that. Down a point because of a Terry Glenn safety and a touchdown given up by the defense?

So, with 4:24 left Romo moves the Cowboys 70 yards and just as the Bengals were knocked out of the playoffs the year before and the Ravens lost a game because a holder could not hold on to a factory-fresh slick ball, Romo is pegged as the ultimate choker--the Q.B. who committed "The Worst Fumble in the history of the NFL." Forget about Glenn's safety that resulted in nine pointsand the ball. Romo gets tagged with the loss and a choke 

Then in 2008 with home-field advantage the Giants go up with four minutes gone in the first quarter when two Cowboys miss tackles on Armani Toomer and he scoots 5 yards for a touchdown. Romo takes Dallas with a big dose of Marion Barber down the field to tie the score early in the second quarter with a perfect fade to T.O.

Romo follows that up with a 20-play drive that puts Dallas ahead 14-7 with 47 seconds left in the half.

With 48 seconds left, the Dallas defense can't stop the Giants from going down the field. Romo's fault?

With six minutes left in the third, Romo escapes a sack that gets a first down and puts Dallas ahead by getting the kicker in postion for a chip shot field goal. Dallas up 17-14. I'm guessing you think he should have had enginnered his third touchdown drive, huh?

What am I missing? Romo missed Owens but hit Crayton in the hands who dropped a pass that Aikman said could have gone for six. Joe Buck suggests Romo isn't getting much help from his receivers.

The Giants get a good punt return down to the Dallas 40 after Crayton's drop and Armani Toomer takes the ball to the 4 after a blown coverage. Romo choking?

Dallas is stil ahead entering the fourth quarter but the giants have that short field and go 40 yards to go ahead. 

The  cowboys get the ball back with seeven minutes left after Crayton muffs a punt, negating good field condition. 

Dallas goes three and out as do the Giants and Dallas gets the ball with 1:48 left and 48 yards away from the end-zone.

With 58 seconds Romo evades three Giant pass rushers--make that four and gives Whitten a shovel pass. Ball on the 25. 

Thirty four seconds left. 

Fals start. Aikman: "I'll say it again. The snap from Gerard is not getting back to Romo in time."

Aikman again, after Usiminura gets to Romo unimpeded: For a guy who wasn't getting hit, "Romo is getting pounded in the fourth quarter. Every time Romo has dropped back in the fourth quarter he's been on his back--either that or running for his life." (Romo choking?)

Third and 11; 21 seconds left. Romo tries to go to Crayton in the endzone but he's blanketed. No audible. No "Kill! Kill! Kill! That was the call.

Fourth and 11:  Romo has to go to the endzone with 11 seconds and try to squeeze it in. It's almost a hail mary and is picked off.

Romo was now 0-2 in playoffs; Wade Philips as a head coach. So who choked?

From ESPN: "The offense stopped drives with penalties, while the defense kept New York drives alive by drawing more flags. There also was sloppy tackling on defense and special teams, dropped passes and wasted timeouts."

Any mention of Romo? Only by his detractors.

Three years later the Vikings throttled the Cowboys 44-3 at the Metrodome. Romo was sacked six times--and they weren't coverage sacks. Brett Favre threw four touchdown passes. When a team loses by 42 points and the quarterback is sacked six times and throws one interception, do you think the offensive line did a particularly good job--or the pass rush from the front four?

THAT's the narrative.

Romo gets thrown under the bus even when he carries the team on to the bus. The reason he has more fourth-quarter comebacks than any other Q.B. since 2011 is because he has to. 












45yearCowboyFan
45yearCowboyFan

@kcopen Romo and the Cowboy's need to get to the playoffs first.  I suspect that whoever represents the East in the first round will lose to the WildCard rep who shows up.  The East is NOT strong as evidenced by the very average records.  (NFC North is little better if at all)

So if Dallas gets to the playoffs with its porous defense and multiple injuries then I anticipate another loss that will only add to Romo's "label" as a big-game loser.  

Shooter McGavin 19711
Shooter McGavin 19711

@PritchBomb Another clueless lemming who believes what the media spoon feeds you.  How sad for you.  If you had watched Dallas since Romo arrived, you would know that for most of his career, he's played behind one of the weakest olines in the entire league.  He's under constant pressure on pretty much every play.  He hasn't had a running game to speak of in years.  It is funny, a guy like Eli is under pressure, throws oodles of interceptions and has lots of fumbles, and it is on his team.  Romo does it, and he's a choker.  Yeah, give Romo a good coach (which he hasn't had since Bill P left) a great oline (which Eli has had for MOST of his career) and a great D (ditto Eli) and Romo has numerous playoff wins.  Put Eli on Dallas the last 10 years, and he's out of football having suffered a career ending injury thanks to the constant pass rush.  I'll let you get back to the media, so you can comment about how yes, there WERE WMDs in the middle east and other foolish nonsense they would have you believe.


Toodles.

Aerdna
Aerdna

@sunalsorises , sorta like the 4 wins the NYGs got vs the Raiders, Packers w/o Rodgers , Eagles and Vikings. 

thread5afe
thread5afe

@sunalsorises Pretty much ugly, chippy game both sides. Dallas seems to have cornered the market on low IQ excellent athletes.

WayneYeager
WayneYeager

@LivingInTheWow  Can you read?  Do you understand what you read? It said come from behind or , I repeat OR game winning drives. A game winning drive means you are tied or behind. DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WayneYeager
WayneYeager

@Shooter McGavin 19711 @PritchBomb  Amen Shooter, These bandwagon following Romo haters have no clue.  Romo is not ONLY NOT a bad QB, he is an outstanding qb.   I dont get why people do not understand he has never had an offensive line, his defnese ha salways been horrible, he has never had a running game since the 2007/2008 season.   HIs efficiency is one of tops in the league, his tds to ints ratio is one of the tops in the league, he is one of the top overall 4th quarter qbs in the nfl over the last 3 years.   What people do not understand is that when you cant run, they have to pass alot and the defense knows this.  Its amazing to me he doesnt throw more interceptions than he has.  I loved Aikman and the 90s cowboys, but Aikman was not a great qb.  As soon as his offensive line went down Aikman was not only NOT a good qb, he was a terrible qb.    Ive learned just to deal with the Romo hatred, is pure jealousy and ignorance.  Glad to find another Romo supporter, there are tons out there.

45yearCowboyFan
45yearCowboyFan

@thread5afe @sunalsorises amen, if they ever start drafting on smarts over athletic skills exclusively then they can improve.  The game is very cerebral and getting mindless idiots that are uncoachable will not hack it.  Will Steven Hawkings and Bill Gates enter the league and take it by storm?  Of course not, athletic skills are needed but so is the ability to read schemes, study film and learn what the coaches are teaching.

NothingButRob
NothingButRob

@James179 @grkorbel @kcopen I think he did an outstanding job. Was it long-winded? Yes, of course it was. It had to be because it's much easier to make the accusation ("Romo chokes derp derp"). What grkorbel did there was school someone who is ignorant of the facts. Now if you have something to say to counter his argument, then have at it. Otherwise, sit on the sidelines and try to learn something.

James179
James179

@WayneYeager @Shooter McGavin 19711 @PritchBomb 

Jealousy and ignorance? How about "or"...those two can't logically coexist on one subject.  you guys truly sound like the haters...there have been and are plenty of better QBs than Romo.  He has a reputation of choking during big moments.  True or not doesn't matter....most people aren't cowboy homers like you guys.  How many years has he been there?  How many post season wins does he have?  Those are the real stats....stop blaming it on everything else...EVERYONE has watched him choke when it matters.