[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.]
22. A Battle Of The Kickers, Bailey Is Money (Sept. 26, 2011)
I'm not sure if I was fortunate to be at this game, but I remember the after-party celebration being a lot of fun. Monday Night Football always seems to get some sloppy ones as of late and this one was no different. The Redskins came to town with little short-armed Rex Grossman at the helm. (Side note: In pre-game warmups, I mistook Grossman for a Washington ball boy, he never looked like a quarterback to me.)
The Redskins came out looking sharp and ready for this matchup as Grossman was determined to lead a scoring drive. After a 17-yard completion to Chris Cooley, the drive went backwards with an incomplete pass, a negative play by Santana Moss and Washington sent out Graham Gano who booted the 46-yarder through.
Dallas' drive was a bit more of the same as the drove down to answer Washington's three points. At Washington's 25, the Cowboys couldn't punch it into the end zone and sent out Dan Bailey who was true from 41-yards and the game is tied. Washington gets the ball but can't do a single thing with it as they punt it back to the Cowboys.
The Cowboys' next drive starts with a beautiful with a 15-yard completion to Kevin Ogletree but that gets called back on a Doug Free holding call. Two plays later, Romo throws a screen to Ogletree but LaRon Landry forces a fumble but it's under review. The official rules that the ball was fumbled and recovered by Washington at the Dallas 14. Three failed plays later, Gano connects with a 27-yard FG to give Washington the lead again.
Cowboys' next drive stalls as the Washington defense behind Rocky MacIntosh keep Jason Witten from getting the first on a 3rd and 8. The Cowboys punt the ball back to Washington. On 1st and 10, Grossman looks for Fred Davis in the middle but is intercepted by Sean Lee who runs it to the Washington 18-yard line. Facing 3rd and 1 at the Washington 9, Tony Fiammetta is stonewalled by London Fletcher and Brian Orakpo. Bailey comes back out and kicks his own 27-yarder to tie the game again with 12:25 left in the half.
Both Washington and Dallas are forced to punt on the next two drives. With just under 10 minutes in the half, Grossman leads Washington down on another hopeful drive that gets thwarted when Terrance Austin drops a Grossman pass. Graham Gano is out once again to attempt a 36-yard FG but it's blocked by Gerald Sensabaugh and Keith Brooking recovers.
In typical Romo fashion, he leads the Cowboys on a long drive that began with 6:22 on the clock. Pass to Fiammetta for 15, then Laurent Robinson gets a 22-yarder of his own. On 2nd and 6 from Washington's 27, Romo finds Felix Jones for the first down. DeMarco Murray picks up six yards on first down, then there's a false start penalty of Kyle Kosier. With 2:30 on the clock, facing a 4th and 3, Bailey boots another FG for 32 yards and the lead.
Just over two minutes left in the half, Grossman comes out firing passes that make him look like an actual NFL quarterback. He gets his team down to the Dallas 26 before he's sacked by Victor Butler and is forced to spike the ball. Gano hits a 50-yarder as time expires in the half. The score is tied with three field goals apiece.
As the third quarter begins it gets ugly for the Cowboys. Romo fumbles twice on one drive but recovers both of them. Doug Free picks up his second holding penalty. On 3rd and 18, Romo looks for Ogletree but is intercepted by Kevin Barnes at the Washington 24. Wrong Kevin, Tony!
Behind Tim Hightower, the Redskins make their way down to the Cowboys 1 and Grossman connects with Hightower for the touchdown. Washington takes the lead 16-9 with the third quarter winding down. With four minutes in the third, Felix Jones busts out a 29-yard run but then fumbles on the next play, thankfully he recovered it, too. At Washington's 49, Romo connects to Jason Witten for 23 yards. Tashard Choice gets stuffed by Fletcher then Ogletree fails to turn and look and it's incomplete on 3rd and 7. Dan "Split-Em" Bailey comes back out and boots another 41-yard FG to cut Washington's lead to four points.
The fourth quarter begins with the same sloppiness as neither team can take advantage of the other. Romo fumbles twice again and Dallas recovers both of the fumbles. The Cowboys down four are lucky enough to be in Washington territory and get aided by a defensive holding call. After the fail to get into the end zone, Bailey makes his fifth FG of the game cutting Washington's lead to one point.
Facing 2nd and 6 on their own 35, Grossman hits Moss for the six yards. To make matters worse, Alan Ball picks up an unnecessary roughness call and give the Redskins another 15 yards. Just when the Redskins are gaining momentum, DeMarcus Ware steps up and sacks Grossman. Rex misses on 3rd and 17 and with under four minutes in the game. The Cowboys get the ball at their own 14 and it's time for Romo to go to work.
Pass to Witten for 7 yards, followed by 20 yards for Ogletree. Romo then completes a 30-yard pass to Dez Bryant to put the Cowboys in Washington territory with 2:20 on the clock. They also pick up a facemask penalty on that play by DeAngelo Hall to put them at the Washington 25. With 1:52 on the clock, facing a 4th and 7 from the Washington 22, Bailey steps out and kicks his sixth field goal to give the Cowboys an 18-16 lead.
Washington still has time on the clock and starts to drive but it's clear that Grossman is forcing the issue. After picking up the first down with a pass to Jabar Gaffney, the Redskins look to get into field goal range. With :38 seconds left on 2nd and 10, Anthony Spencer puts the game to an end as he sacks Grossman, forcing the fumble that Sean Lee recovers. Romo comes out for one play, a simple kneel down as the Cowboys win an intense and ugly divisional dogfight.
It was a mistake for the Redskins to give Romo the ball with under four minutes, they should have seen that a great quarterback will lead his team down the field and take as much clock as possible. When it came down to it, it was Washington's own mistakes that did them in. Bailey became a Cowboys' folk hero and Romo did just enough to win the game.