[In the ten seasons that Tony Romo has been the starting quarterback, he's engineered some great fourth-quarter heroics to bring the Cowboys to victories. Since 2006, no quarterback has had more fourth-quarter comeback victories, 25 to be exact, than Tony Romo. His passer rating in the final quarter of football is an astounding 102.9, five points higher than the number two guy (Aaron Rodgers). Romo also holds the mantle of most game-winning drives among active quarterbacks (29) as well as passer rating in the final two minutes (93.1).
Over the next several weeks before the team heads out to Oxnard and starts it all up again, I thought we could take some time to look back at Mr. Clutch Quarterback himself. We're going to rank all of his comeback tales from good to great, from awesome to completely amazing. Here's looking at you, Mr. Romo.]
24. Romo Outduels His Future Backup (Dec. 9, 2007)
The Cowboys' were cruising in 2007 under Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett's first year with the team. However, sometimes, even for the great teams, things can get a little hairy. Let's go back to a trip to Ford Field, where the Cowboys came in as 10.5 point favorites, and Romo got his first glimpse of his future backup quarterback, Jon Kitna. In similar fashion, the Cowboys didn't show up in the first quarter. After driving into FG range, Nick Folk missed a 50-yard attempt and the Lions were set up well at their own 40.
Five plays later, T.J. Duckett beats the defense badly on a 32-yard scamper to the end zone and the Lions go up 7-0 with under eight minutes in the first. The next Cowboys' drive was more of the same as Romo was sacked by Gerald Alexander for 12 yards and the Cowboys were forced to punt. Once again. the Lions are led down the field from their own 38 to the Cowboys 1, partly thanks to a roughing the passer call on DeMarcus Ware. Kitna tries unsuccessfully to pass the ball to the end zone and the defense holds the Lions to three points. Lions lead the Cowboys 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
As the second quarter begins, life starts to breathe through the Cowboys lungs as they escape a potential fumble by Marion Barber thanks to Andre Gurode. At the Detroit 20, Barber runs aggressively into the end zone and Folk makes the PAT to finally put some points on the board. On the ensuing Lions' drive, Kitna throws a couple of really nice deep passes to get his team down the field again, but after a false start, the Lions are settling for another FG. The Cowboys squander their opportunity to take the lead after Patrick Crayton drops the ball and the Cowboys punt yet again.
With just over six minutes in the half, Kitna finds the always dynamic Calvin Johnson on a 19-yard pass that was truly a thing of beauty. The Lions' offense would run through T.J. Duckett and Kevin Jones as Detroit started working their ground game. Dallas calls their first timeout at 1:52 in the half and Jones subsequently runs in a two-yard touchdown giving the Lions a 20-7 lead with less than two minutes until halftime.
With 1:36 remaining, Romo starts spending some shells as he hits Jason Witten on back-to-back nine-yard completions. Then Tony rushes through an open hole in the defense for a 15-yard run. He follows that up with another 12-yards, this time, in the air to his security blanket Witten. He finds Barber for another 10-yards and then hits him again in the end zone for eight yards and the TD, leaving 33 seconds on the clock. Lions try to extend their lead but time and penalties get in their way. At the half, the Lions lead is dwindling but it's 20-14.
The Lions' first drive after the half ends in a punt as does the Cowboys too after they commit three offensive penalties. As the third quarter dips under five minutes, the Lions behind Jon Kitna's warrior mentality, start dropping dimes and the Lions are again threatening the Cowboys at the three-yard line. On 2nd and 3, Jones runs it in to put Detroit up 27-14.
Dallas and Romo follow that up by a passing spree of their own with Tony and Witten connecting on three passes of 10+ yards. Barber seizes the opportunity and punches one in for himself as the Cowboys make it a one-possession game. Leading 27-21, the Lions get right back into the red zone but fail to connect and then Jason Hanson misses the FG attempt, giving the Cowboys some momentum. Romo is airing it out for almost 70 yards and hits Witten for another nine but 82 uncharacteristically fumbles the ball, giving it back on the Lions own 10.
Thankfully the defense holds and Detroit is forced to punt it back with 2:15 left in the game. It's time to go to work, Mr. Romo. Tony leads the Cowboys on a 12-play drive completing passes all over the field. Romo almost bites it with a sack and fumble but the steady Kyle Kosier falls on it. After Romo collects himself, he hands it off to Barber who gains 13 yards. The Lions get called for 12 men on the field and give the 'Boys an extra five. Romo connects with Witten for six yards and a first down. Then he follows that up with a 16-yarder to Sam Hurd, the play is challenged but it's upheld.
With 22 seconds left and down six points, Romo scrambles and hits Witten for 16-yards down the middle and the score to escape Detroit with a 28-27 victory. An early Christmas present for Cowboys' fans everywhere as Dallas improved to 12-1 on the season.