[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.]
11. A Buzzer Beater By The 'Boys (Thanksgiving 2011)
The Cowboys seem to have some memorable games against the Miami Dolphins, don't they? We all remember the whole team screaming at Leon Lett "Don't Touch The Ball" and the loss that followed on a snowy day. Then there is obviously the time when Bob Lilly chased down Bob Griese for an eternity before the quarterback finally took the sack and the Cowboys won Super Bowl VI, 24-3. Just last year, Tony Romo returned to the team and led his team to victory over the Dolphins; remember that left-handed shuffle pass?
Well, as you can tell by now, Romo and his cast of Cowboys have had quite a few comeback victories and this one was a personal favorite of mine as it came on Thanksgiving. A quick backstory, I worked in hospitality, so when this game came on, I was actually at work. I did what every reasonable front desk manager would do on a slow holiday at the hotel...I found an empty room and watched this game in its entirety. Shhhhh...that secret is between us Cowboys' fans.
This game couldn't have started out any worse as just six plays into the Cowboys' first possession, Romo is looking for Martellus Bennett but finds Vontae Davis for an interception. Thankfully, the Dolphins were not a very good team with Matt Moore as the starter (former Romo backup), three plays later they punt. Two DeMarco Murray runs later, Romo throws another pick as he's trying to find Laurent Robinson. Oh geez, is this the type of sour Turkey Day dinner we're in for?
The Dolphins have the ball at the Dallas 26 but Moore is incomplete on a 3rd and 3 from the Cowboys 8, Shayne Graham comes out to give the Dolphins a three-point lead. On the next Cowboys' drive, it seems as though they start to find their rhythm after Romo finds Robinson for 20 yards and Murray gains another 10 yards rushing. However, Romo takes a Cameron Wake sack on first down. On a 4th and 6, the Cowboys are going to go for it but Jesse Holley picks up a false start, here comes another punt.
Moore uses six plays to get back in Dallas territory but Victor Butler saves the day on 3rd and 7 from the Dallas 21 with a sack and 8-yard loss for the Dolphins. On the very next play, Graham shanks the kick and the lead is still 3-0, Dolphins.
Behind two runs where Murray picks up almost 30 yards, the Cowboys start driving with Romo dinking and dunking his way to the Miami 14. A 3rd and 8 pass to Dez Bryant is no good so Dan Bailey bails the Cowboys out with a 32-yard field goal to tie the game.
After the kickoff, Matt Moore fumbles the ball but his guy jumps on it. Moore is sacked by Kenyon Coleman on second down and Reggie Bush can't pick up the first on third down. The Dolphins punt it back to the Cowboys with only 3:14 left to play in the half. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah returns the punt for 21 yards to the Cowboys 36. Again, the Cowboys can't make anything of it and punt it back with under two minutes.
On 3rd and 14 from their own 24-yard line, Moore tries to scramble but is sacked by DeMarcus Ware and he fumbles the ball. Ware recovers the fumble and gets to the Miami 5. Romo finds Laurent Robinson on the next play to take the lead 10-3 with 1:01 left in the half. The Dolphins get one last shot at it and what do you know? They make it all the way down the field with a pass interference call on Alan Ball and kick a field goal to make 10-6 at the half in favor of Dallas.
After the half, Moore is firing on all cylinders as he connects with Bush for 34-yards. Bush will aid the Dolphins getting back into Cowboys' territory with a couple of really nice gashing runs. At the Dallas 9, on 3rd and 4, Moore misses Charles Clay and Graham kicks a 27-yarder to get within a point of Dallas' lead. It's 10-9, Cowboys with 8:07 in the third quarter.
Romo and Company have another stalled drive as they can't seem to get into a rhythm to make anything happen. The Dolphins come right back out and Moore finds Brian Hartline for a 41-yard reception, he follows that one up with another 35-yard reception by Brandon Marshall for the touchdown, Dolphins lead 16-10.
The Cowboys start with just over three minutes left in the third quarter. Romo finds Bennett for 8, Jason Witten for another 9. Romo then finds Murray for another 17-yard gain and Robinson for 14 more yards. On 2nd and 10 from the Miami 30, Romo is good to Robinson again for another 7 yards and Witten picks up another 5 of his own. On 1st and 10 from the Miami 18, just inside the fourth quarter, Romo hits Robinson for his second touchdown to take the lead 17-16 over Miami.
The Dolphins have more in them as the Cowboys aid them with two terrible penalties by Abe Elam and Frank Walker to help Miami get right back into it. Moore can't complete a 3rd and 5 at the Dallas 5 to Hartline and Graham comes out to take the lead 19-17.
Romo picks up where he left off finding Murray in the middle of the field for another 18 yards. However, Doug Free picks up a false start on 3rd and 11. Then Tyron Smith picks up a holding call the very next play and the Cowboys have to punt, where the Cowboys get another penalty on John Phillips for illegal formation.
Moore is sacked on 2nd down and can't find Davone Bess on third so with 3:14 to play, the Cowboys will have one last shot. Right out of the gate, Romo finds Witten for 23 yards over the middle. Witten again for another 6 yards. Murray adds two rushes for another 15 and the Dolphins call their second timeout after burning one in the third quarter. Murray picks up another 7 yards on two attempts to get to the Miami 13, Dolphins call their final timeout. Romo hands it to Murray who gets another 5 yards. Cowboys call a timeout with 17 seconds left. Romo then kneels the ball, Dallas calls timeout with three seconds left. Dan Bailey comes out and drills a 28-yarder to give the Cowboys the Thanksgiving Day victory, 20-19.
The Cowboys improved to 7-4 on the season and it was even better having taken care of their own business to watch on Sunday as the Giants and Eagles were both blown out by the Saints and Patriots respectively.