[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.]
7.) An Emotional Victory To Say The Very Least (Dec. 9, 2012)
Both teams were needing victories to remain in contention in their divisions as the Cowboys were 6-6 and Bengals were 7-5. However, both teams weren't exactly going through the same circumstances. On the night before this game, defensive tackle Josh Brent and best friend and Cowboys' linebacker Jerry Brown were out on the town and decided to drive home. Brent, who was well over the legal limit, hit speeds of at least 110 mph before an accident occurred that resulted in the death of Brown. Emotions were extremely high as the team mourned the loss of Brown and the emotional damage to Brent. It just may have been Jason Garrett's finest moment as a head coach.
This game most certainly had a somber feel to it and nobody would have blamed the Cowboys had they taken a loss that day. How can you bring yourself to play football less than 24 hours after the death of your teammate? They carried Jerry Brown's #54 jersey and laid it on the visitor's bench to be reminded of who he was to all of them. To them, this wasn't just some practice squad player, this was their brother and they lost a member of their family that day. Nobody would have batted an eye to see them not find the will to compete, but they found out a lot more that cold day in Cincinnati.
The first Cowboys' drive was going well after Romo seemed pretty sharp and ready to shake the underdog label the Cowboys were given before this game. He connected with Dwayne Harris for 21 yards and followed that up with two completions to Lawrence Vickers for 18 yards. He was getting Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray involved and Jason Witten involved as well. On 3rd and 1, he failed to connect with James Hanna, so Dan Bailey came out and put a 37-yard field goal through to give the Cowboys the lead at 3-0.
Right out of the gate, this was going to be a fight as Brandon Tate returned the kick for 35 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis took the rock for 19 more yards. On an end around, Marvin Jones gained another 37 yards and the Bengals scored two plays later on an 8-yard pass from Andy Dalton to Andrew Hawkins to take the lead 7-3.
That vaunted Bengals defense held the Cowboys to a three and out and Cincy was back on offense. Facing a 4th and 6 at the Cowboys 7, Josh Brown makes the 25-yard field goal to take a 10-3 lead. Again, the Cowboys were forced to punt on their next drive. On the ensuing drive, the Bengals picked up five more yards after the Cowboys were offsides.
Three plays later, Dalton was looking for A.J. Green but instead was picked off by Brandon Carr who returned the interception for 37 yards. On the first play, Romo hits Witten deep over the middle for 25 yards. He connects with Miles Austin on the next play for a touchdown but the official ruled it incomplete. Instead, Murray punched it in two plays later for the score and the 10-10 tie game.
The Bengals are right back at it with over ten minutes to play in the half. Dalton is slinging the ball all over the field and connects with Marvin Jones for 17 and Jermaine Gresham for 25 yards. On 3rd and 3 from the Cowboys 15, Dalton fails to find Hawkins and Brown kicks the 33-yarder to take a 13-10 lead with 3:29 in the half.
Romo attempts to get his Cowboys down the field to score one before the half but penalties and dropped passes get in the way. Facing 3rd and 10, Romo passes deep to Harris but is intercepted by Reggie Nelson and we're at halftime.
After the half, the Bengals are driving when Anthony Spencer sacks Dalton but the Cowboys pick up an unsportsmanlike penalty. Then Dallas picks up the 12 men on the field penalty. Thankfully, Cincinnati can't get out of their own way with a few offensive gaffes and Brown boots another field goal to take a 6-point lead, 16-10. After the Cowboys can't make anything of their next drive, the Bengals come back out but are having offensive issues. Still, with the help of another defensive penalty on the Cowboys, Brown boots his fourth field goal from 52 yards to give the Bengals a two-possession lead at 19-10.
Romo is back out with the offense and we're seeing the same issues as before, the Bengals' defense clamps down on the Cowboys and forces the punt. The Dallas' defense is able to put their clamps down on the Bengals as well. Dallas uses their first timeout with just over 10 minutes left to play, then on 3rd down, Dalton is sacked by DeMarcus Ware.
On the next Cowboys' drive, Romo is hitting his stride as he finds Kevin Ogletree for 23 yards, Miles Austin for 15, and then a booming 27-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant to get within two points of the lead. With 4:40 left on the clock, the Bengals are facing a 3rd and 4 at their own 36 when Anthony Spencer sacks Dalton and the Cowboys will get one more shot.
Romo finds Witten for 9 plus more with a penalty on Leon Hall. Then Romo finds Dez for 9 and Murray for 7. Murray runs for the first on 3rd and 1 to keep the drive alive at the Cincinnati 35. With 1:17 left, Murray gains six yards on a 3rd and 5 to keep the clock running. Cincinnati is out of timeouts having used all of them by the time 14 minutes were left in the 4th quarter can't stop the clock. With four seconds left in the game, Dan Bailey kicks the 40-yarder to give the Cowboys an emotional 20-19 win.
By looks on their faces, this was a team that fought a gritty fight to stay in there and win this game when all the odds were stacked against them. Some teammates couldn't even celebrate the victory as they were seen sulking on the bench. It was a gut-wrenching victory and another somber flight home back to Dallas. However, Jason Garrett deserves a ton of credit for how he got his team to will themselves to victory and Romo set the tone from the opening drive that they weren't going to fold under pressure. It was perhaps one of the finest Cowboys' games I had ever watched or witnessed.