[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.]
19. Romo With The Layups, Dan Bailey Knocks Them Down (Oct. 21, 2012)
Reading through stat sheets and rewatching these games, 2012 certainly strikes me as the year that Romo would lay them up and Bailey would knock them down. Five of the 25 comebacks came in 2012, the most of any of Romo's seasons. For one, the team just wasn't that good and the defenses would play well one game, then be wildly inconsistent the next. Sound familiar?
This particular game featured two teams with defenses that decided to show up and offenses that puttered around for most of the afternoon. Not only do you walk away with an appreciation for Tony Romo's ability to make something happen when it counts but Dan Bailey has been money since joining the Dallas Cowboys.
This one starts with a three and out for the Panthers as Cam Newton misses Steve Smith deep. On the punt, Dez Bryant is called for unnecessary roughness and away we go. The Cowboys' first drive starts at their 11 and ends at their 17. On the Cowboys' punt, Orie Lemon is called for a penalty and the 'Boys are off to a sloppy start.
Newton is sacked on 2nd down by DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher. If that's not enough, Cam misses Louis Murphy on 3rd and 16 after Ware is left unblocked again. The next Dallas drive begins at their own 8-yard line but Romo leads the Cowboys on a 91-yard drive that wipes over 10 minutes off the clock. Romo completes a 6-yard pass to Miles Austin on 3rd and 7 from the Carolina-7, Bailey boots one through to give the Cowboys a 3-0 lead.
On Carolina's next drive already into the second quarter thanks to Romo, the Panthers commit some silly penalties but somehow make it down to the Cowboys' 7-yard line. On 2nd and 6, Cam tries to find Louis Murphy in the end zone but is intercepted by rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne.
Starting at their own 20, Felix Jones puts together a few nice runs but as soon as Romo completes a 15-yarder to Austin, he turns and meets Luke Kuechly who forces the fumble and recovers it. With just over four minutes left in the half, Newton wastes no time as he dissects the Cowboys' defense both through the air and with his feet. With :21 seconds left in the half, he finds Brandon LaFell on 3rd and 5 from the Dallas-5 for the touchdown and the Panthers go up 7-3 at halftime.
The third quarter starts off in familiar fashion as each team trades off punting. On the Cowboys' next drive with well under 10 minutes in the third, Romo goes back on the offensive. He finds Kevin Ogletree for 11-yards and then hits Austin on a slant that goes for 36-yards. The very next play he throws deep left to Austin for 26-yards and the touchdown. The Cowboys take the lead at 10-7.
After a prompt three and out for the Panthers, the Cowboys are back on the move but Doug Free halts their drive on a 3rd and 4 from the Carolina-26. Once again, Dan "Money-Bags" Bailey saves the day with a 49-yarder to give the Cowboys a six-point lead. The Panthers' and Cowboys each complete one more three and out before the fourth quarter rolls in.
Carolina has the ball inside the fourth and Newton starts to carve the Cowboys' up one more time with the help of two defensive penalties, one on Jay Ratliff, a personal foul after the Cowboys effectively ended Carolina's drive; thanks, Jay. After Carr is called for holding, the Panthers are right at the Dallas-2 where Mike Tolbert punches it in to give Carolina the lead 14-13.
Again, the Cowboys and Panthers trade off stalled drives and we're at just over 7 minutes to go in the game. Romo down one point finds Philip Tanner for 8-yards, then Romo runs past Kuechly for 10-yards. Two plays later, Romo finds Jason Witten for 11-yards. Tanner finds 4 yards on 3rd and 9 and Dallas calls a timeout to preserve some clock if needed. Bailey comes out and kicks his third field goal, a 28-yarder to give the Cowboys a 16-14 lead.
The Panthers' next drive is more of the same after Cam can't connect with Murphy on a 4th and 1. With 2:11 left in the game, the offense tries to run the ball from the Carolina-39. They manage to pick up a few more yards and eat some clock, Bailey nails his fourth field goal and Dallas goes up 19-14.
One last nailbiter as Cam Newton gets the ball back but after Anthony Spencer sacks him on third, the Panthers try the lateral game and Cam fumbles, it's recovered by Ware and the Cowboys get the win 19-14. In a game where Romo only found the end zone one time, he and Bailey make the perfect match and keep the Cowboys' above water.