Tony Romo has another opportunity. An opportunity that will ultimately define his career. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has had Romo’s back ever since he took over for Drew Bledsoe, claiming that Romo is his quarterback that will lead Dallas to a Super Bowl victory.
Winning a Super Bowl isn’t easy when your team fails to make the playoffs.
The quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys has another shot at redemption. The player who dons number nine has another chance to prove doubters wrong in a winner-take-all matchup. Two previous winner-take-all, week 17 games, one in 2008 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles and the other last season vs. the New York Giants, did not bode well for the Eastern Illinois alum. The Eagles humiliated the Cowboys 44-6 in ’08 while the Giants routed Dallas 31-14 at the Meadowlands in January, 2012.
What gives this third time around?
For Romo, this matchup is scarily similar to the last two. Dallas travels to Washington D.C. to take on another NFC East foe, the revived Washington Redskins led by 2012 Heisman winner Robert Griffin III. Romo failed vs. the Eagles and Giants, what makes one think he’ll flip the switch this time?
Just five weeks ago, the Cowboys hosted the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day and RG3 was an effective 19 of 27 for 304 yards and an oh-by-the-way four touchdowns. Since then, however, the rookie phenomenon tweaked his knee against the Baltimore Ravens and was forced to sit a game. RG3 did return to play the Eagles last week and led them to a 27-20 victory but was a noticeably different quarterback from a running standpoint. He carried just two times for four yards. In the last matchup against Dallas, Griffin bought all kinds of time with his feet. That story may be different tonight on NBC.
What RG3 does on offense is obviously out of Romo’s control. It’ll take an unbelievable game plan by Dallas Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan to stop Griffin III that must be executed to near-perfection by the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, and whoever is lining up nowadays at every other defensive position. Collectively, the Cowboys have been hit hard by the injury bug, especially on defense. Wide receiver Dez Bryant is battling a broken finger. The list goes on and on. Nevertheless, Romo has been unscathed all season long and has no excuses. His recent play, arguably, has been the best we’ve ever seen.
The Cowboys were 3-5 following a 19-13 loss on November 4 in Atlanta. They then reeled off five wins in six games, the lone loss coming to the Redskins. Last week, they trailed 31-17 with under four minutes remaining to the New Orleans Saints. Romo rallied to force a tie with just seconds remaining and had a shot to win in overtime. The Saints eventually kicked the game winning field goal, but the loss did not come at a cost. Dallas is still in the same situation, regardless – win and they’re in.
To win tonight, the Cowboys can not throw the ball 62 times. DeMarco Murray must hang on to the football and keep the Redskins defense honest with the ground game. Romo must continue to protect the football as he has done lately. He has a 26-16 touchdown-to-interception ratio and needs just 315 passing yards to eclipse 5,000 for the season. That milestone ought to be the last thing on Romo’s mind. Romo will only be remembered whether he wins or loses tonight. It’ll take a turnover-free effort by Romo to give the Cowboys their best chance at making the playoffs.
So there you have it, Tony. You’ve been superb in the second half. Your statistics place you in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks. However, you lacked the clutch gene in your last winner-takes-all matchups. People say one game shouldn’t define a career, but you’ve had multiple opportunities. How do you want to be remembered?