[In the ten seasons that Tony Romo has been the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, he's engineered some great fourth-quarter heroics to bring the Cowboys to victory. 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.]
21. Divisional Dogfight in Dallas (Nov. 22, 2009)
Some games are so exciting and others are just snooze fests. It's easy to overlook defensive games where everyone's slugging at each other for 60 minutes. These type of games deserve some extra love as everyone feels it in the end as they wipe their bloody noses and unravel the tape from their battered bodies. 2009 was no different as it was one those times that really cemented Tony Romo as the man. It was also the year that he finally won a playoff game, the first in well over a decade for Dallas. This particular game may have been ugly but what Romo does is simply incredible.
The long, heated rivalry between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys began before the Cowboys were even recognized as an NFL franchise. Dallas blackmailed their way into the league after George Preston Marshall was trying to keep everything under the Mason-Dixon line under his control. What Dallas did was pure genius as they bought the rights to the "Hail To The Redskins" and refused to let Marshall play the song at his games until he complied. From that point on, the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry has had some of the most brutal and physical contests that have defied the logic of team records, the talent of the rosters, or anything that can predetermine a game. The Cowboys-Redskins match has defined the term "Any Given Sunday."
This particular game started out with neither team wanting to give an inch as both team's starting possessions ended in punts. The Cowboys started to get their running game going with both Marion Barber and Felix Jones gaining 37 rushing yards and getting them to the Washington 16.
On 2nd and 2 from the 16-yard line, Barber cuts to the right for four yards but meets London Fletcher, who causes him to fumble and DeAngelo Hall recovers it at the Washington 17. Jason Campbell comes back out but can't complete a pass and the Redskins are forced to punt it again. Neither team can get their offenses going as the defenses reign supreme in this contest and Dallas punts again.
Facing a 1st and 10 at their own 28, Campbell is sacked by Keith Brooking but Terrence Newman is called for an illegal use of the hands.The first quarter comes to a close with both teams scoreless. Finally, with the help of Rock Cartwright, the Redskins manage to get the ball into Cowboys' territory at the Dallas 25 to start the second. On 2nd and 4, Campbell is sacked again, this time by Brooking and DeMarcus Ware on a vicious hit. Cartwright is able to gain back 8 of the 10 yards lost and Shaun Suisham is good from 45 yards out to put Washington up three.
On the ensuing drive, Romo is moving the ball with ease finding Jason Witten on an 11-yard pass and keeping his running backs involved. On 2nd and 6, Romo is incomplete as Miles Austin neglects to turn. On 3rd and 6, Roy E. Williams drops a pass and Dallas is punting again. At their own 14, Cartwright busts out a 34-yard run that shows Brooking's age and lack of speed. Again. Campbell struggles to find open receivers and this drive ends at Washington's 48 with a punt. Redskins still lead 3-0 with 6:06 in the half.
Romo finds Martellus Bennett deep over the middle for 21 yards. Three plays later after 10 yards gained on the ground, Romo hits Barber for another eight yards and this drive is cooking. Barber follows that up with a nine yard run for the first down. Just inside the two-minute warning, Romo looks for Witten but Flozell Adams is called for holding. Leonard Davis is called for a false start and the Cowboys are moved back another five. On 2nd and 23, Romo finds Bennett again, this time for 15 yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Redskins 28, Romo looks for Williams, who is not looking for Romo and it's incomplete. Nick Folk comes out and misses a 46-yarder.
With 1:18 left in the half, the Redskins start driving all the way down to attempt to punch one in before the half. Campbell is sacked by Anthony Spencer but it's called an incomplete pass. On 3rd and 1 with :21 seconds left, Suisham is no good from 39-yards out. Romo kneels the ball and we're at the half 3-0 Washington.
Practically the whole third quarter lives up to the theme of the game as both defenses are standing their ground. Washington's offense keeps moving backward with offensive penalties. With :46 seconds left in the third, Suisham is redeemed by making a 31-yarder that gives the Redskins a 6-0 lead as we begin the 4th quarter.
Romo starts to drive the ball down the field when he looks for Miles Austin at the Washington 39 but finds London Fletcher instead at the 33-yard line of the Redskins. Luckily for Dallas, Suisham misses his second field goal of the game, this time from 50 yards out.
Romo and the Cowboys begin at their own 40-yard line with 7:06 left in the game. Romo to Jones for 7, Romo runs up the middle for 5 yards. Like clockwork, Romo finds Witten for 7 then Austin for 9. The Cowboys keep driving down the field with back-to-back completions to Witten and Austin for 12 yards and 11 yards respectively. With 2:50 on the clock at the Washington 10, Romo finds Patrick Crayton over the middle. Touchdown Cowboys. The PAT is good and Dallas leads 7-6.
Washington's drive starts with a penalty and they begin at their 8. Starting to drive on the Cowboys, Campbell completes three passes for 25 yards. After the two-minute warning, Campbell steps back at his own 33 looking for a ghost it seems as nobody is near except Spencer who gladly takes that ball out of the air. Washington does manage to get the ball back but with only :07 seconds left, this one is officially over.
Another late-game save by the NFL's best closer, Tony Romo. Even in a game that was not going well offensively for anyone, the great quarterbacks emerge when it counts most. Romo's scoring drive is something we've all grown accustomed to and are lucky to have someone as clutch as can be. Not only did he win the ball game but he gave his defense enough rest to effectively end the contest.