Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The Dallas Cowboys find themselves in another win or go home Week 17 game. No matter the outcome, Tony Romo has proven himself to be a great quarterback this season.
Entering the final week of the 2011 season, the Dallas Cowboys had a chance to beat the New York Giants and go to the playoffs. Tony Romo had severe swelling of his hand and he did his best to tough it out. The Cowboys lost that game 31-14, but you really can't blame that loss on Tony Romo. Unfortunately, that's another game he'll be remembered for.
Romo has a chance to beat the Washington Redskins and win the NFC East title. After everything that has gone on this season, just having the opportunity to play for the NFC East title has to be an accomplishment. I don't know about the rest of you, but I want this game badly. You know that the Cowboys want to win this game in a big way, but this game has a lot of importance for #9.
Not only does Romo have a chance to propel his team into the playoffs, but he has another chance to silence some of his critics. It's really not fair to Tony, but his public perception isn't what it should be. You constantly hear that Romo is a "choke artist" and cannot perform under pressure.
If you want to see some interesting stats, check out what Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram said in his recent article.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has thrown 10 touchdown and just one interception in the last four games. He has 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions since throwing four inceptions against the Giants Oct. 28, helping the Cowboys rebound from a 3-5 start with five wins in the last seven games.
Consider as well that Romo leas the NFL in comeback wins with five this season. He is third in passing yards with 4,685, sixth in completion percentage (66.3), sixth in passing touchdowns (26) and 10th in passer rating (92.5).
Romo enters this game playing his best football of the season. You could make a case that Romo is playing at an MVP level, that's how good he's been in the second half of the season. When the Cowboys have needed him most this season, Romo has stepped up and delivered. His poise and accuracy have come on strong and he can really make any throw on the field. Romo's back-shoulder throws have improved to the point that he may be one of the best in the NFL.
Now that Romo has developed a strong chemistry with budding superstar Dez Bryant, the Cowboys have once again become a very dangerous offense. Romo has weapons, but he is elevating the play and getting the most of the players around him. Great quarterbacks find a way to get it done no matter who is on the field, and that is exactly what Romo is doing.
Romo has become one of the most dangerous playmakers in the NFL. If people don't want to admit that, that's fine, but Romo is balling right now. Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher believes that Romo is playing at a high level.
"You look at the way he’s been playing lately," Fletcher said. "He’s been playing as good a football as any quarterback in the league these last four, five ballgames. You look at all the numbers that’s he’s been doing, all the plays that he’s made, and then Dez Bryant playing the way he’s playing, Witten playing the way he’s playing."
"You got some guys that are playing some great football, but it starts definitely with Tony."
Under Jason Garrett, the Cowboys are beginning to win close games in the clutch, and Romo has been a huge part of that. This will be another defining moment in Romo's career. If Romo gets enough time from his offensive line, then he can lead this team back to the playoffs. This could be the game that Romo picks the team up and puts them on his shoulders.
Regardless of the outcome, Romo deserves to be recognized as one of the best quarterbacks in the game. This game means a lot to all of us, but let's give Romo some props for battling through a lot of adversity this season and consistently showing up in each ballgame. If the Cowboys do find a way to beat the Redskins, then some of Romo's critics need to eat some crow and give the quarterback the respect he deserves.