Frank Lusksa over at the DMN sums up Tony Romo as the QB of our team. Dispensing with all the technical mumbo-jumbo, Luska goes to the heart of the matter:
Romo brings energy to an offense that knew too many stodgy moments under Bledsoe. His spunky attitude also appeared to energize a defense that blanked Carolina for the final 46 minutes of the game. Williams intercepted a deep pass. Special teams covered a fumbled kickoff return. On this occasion, all the pieces fit.
I couldn't agree more. When I wrote about Romo right after the game, one of the things that stood out most to me was how the early penalties that killed drives and the interception he threw didn't seem to affect him at all. He came right back out and played his game in the next series. Even later in the game, when things were getting tight in the second half, like after a holding penalty that set us back while driving for a tying TD, Romo stayed poised. He didn't panic; he calmly dropped back after the penalty, moved in the pocket to avoid the rush, and zipped a pass to Jason Witten for a first down. Cool as the other side of the pillow.
Mac Engel reminds us that the Cowboys season is still in the balance and that the dreaded .500 virus is the first thing this team needs to shake.
So while they are 1-0 under Romo, they're still one loss away from being .500 for the fourth time this season. It was but one win when another six are required to reach the 10-win plateau that usually means postseason.
"Games need to be won," James said. "For us to stop being paper champions and prove we can do something, we have to win."
But this postgame was different. Everyone in the locker room felt it. The uncertainty of starting Romo had paid off.
All that remains to be seen is whether the Romo Effect will sustain itself or move on.
"You try not to get too far ahead of yourself. It is one game," tight end Jason Witten said. "This game can humble you quick. You know those days are there. But we are excited about what he can do."
That Bradie James quote above sums up a lot for me. I keep looking at this team and thinking we have talent on both sides of the ball, now they need to translate it into wins. Maybe all it took was a fresh-faced kid with oversized ears to lead them.
After all, his Hall of Fame legacy is at stake.
Take the Cowboys on a lengthy playoff run, maybe to the Super Bowl, and the questions about whether Bill Belichick was really the genius behind Parcells' two Super Bowl rings will fade. Continue to hover around .500 in Dallas, with frequent double-digit losses, and the questions about his genius will remain.
The goal remains at least 10 wins, because that virtually assures Dallas a spot in the playoffs. After Romo's performance, which helped the Cowboys improve to 4-3, that no longer seems like such a Herculean task.