Tony Romo Struggled Early In 2012, But Has Elevated His Game For Playoff Run

USA TODAY Sports

2012 has been a roller-coaster ride for Tony Romo, but he has survived and elevated himself once again.

One of our sponsors posed the question this week: which NFL QB is leading the pack this season? There are plenty of good answers for that. Looking at it locally though, Tony Romo is the unquestioned leader of this pack of Cowboys. Especially the offensive line. It isn't always pretty but Romo is their guy. Look at how quickly Doug Free moves to help Romo up off his back when he's knocked down over and over. OK, don't look because you might want to press charges against Free but that's a story for another column. You'll just have to trust me that the offensive line really does want Romo to survive until the next game.

You think we're amazed when we watch "Romodini Act, Take 147,382?" Imagine how thankful the guys are that actually caused him to dip, dodge, duck and shuffle his way to a downfield completion must be. There are mobile quarterbacks all across the league. There are players that are more athletic and pose running threats that you'd never consider for Romo. But you have to really rack your brain to remember a quarterback so adept at dancing in the pocket amidst certain physical danger.

The position of quarterback is normally the head field general on a football team and Romo is no exception. Seeing him take the massive hits that threaten his football career and never blame those paid extremely well to keep him clean is amazing. You've seen what has occurred in Chicago, with Jay Cutler physically confronting his offensive linemen after being pummeled. Could you ever see Romo doing that? Which of Romo's or Cutler's offensive lines are worse is debatable, but one can't deny what Romo has done over the last two years behind some pretty leaky protection.

Romo is tied for the league lead in fourth quarter comebacks with 4, according to Pro Football Reference. That doesn't include furious fourth quarter rallies against the Giants and the Redskins that almost resulted in two more wins. He is currently third in the entire league in passing yards for the season, only 100 behind leader Drew Brees. He's thrown for over 300 yards seven times so far this year and still has New Orleans on the schedule whom everyone passes that benchmark against. After starting the season by throwing 13 interceptions in the first seven games, he's only tossed 3 in the last 6 and that includes last Sunday's pseudo-punt near the end of the first half (not that other QBs don't have similar plays in their stats).

Not only does Romo now hold the Cowboys record for passing touchdowns (169 and counting) but he also holds the team record for most fourth quarter comebacks (17) ahead of both Troy Aikman and Roger "Captain Comeback" Staubach.

Of course, nobody is saying that Romo is a quarterback without deficiencies. He's posting the worst passer rating, net yards per attempt average and touchdown percentages of his seven-year starting career. It's been a tough 2012, but his rebounding from an awful start is paramount proof that he is a quarterback worth leading your troops. His numerous second half comebacks this year only further illustrate that point.

The Cowboys are in contention and Romo is the prime reason.

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