Tony Romo’s career played out in overdrive in one afternoon. Romo made play after play en route to the greatest day any Dallas Cowboys QB has ever had. But in the end, Romo threw the decisive interception at the two minute warning in a tie game, setting up Denver’s winning field goal.
Romo set his career high in passing yards, with 506, and set the franchise record for passing yards. He tied his career high in touchdown passes, with five. The Dallas Cowboys scored 48 points . . . and they lost. The 48 points scored in a loss ties for the most ever in NFL history. In an AFL game, the Houston Oilers lost 52-49 in 1963 to the Raiders, and George Blanda threw five touchdowns and two interceptions.
In a 2004 game between the Browns and Bengals, Kelly Holcomb of Cleveland threw a pick-six to seal the defeat. Before that, it was a 1983 game between Kansas City and Seattle, won by the Seahawks 51-48 in overtime. That game featured Bill Kenney playing brilliantly, but Nick Lowery missing an extra point after the go-ahead touchdown with 90 seconds left (with Kenney as holder), allowing Seattle to tie it with a field goal as time expired, and win it in overtime.
If you believe that Romo is the chokiest choker that ever choked, you can focus on that interception, how he had a chance for greatness, and could not take the final step. If you believe that Romo is genuinely a great quarterback, well, you can point to play-after-play-after-play when he did things to keep Dallas in the game, often creating magic out of nowhere. If you are inclined to say that Romo catches too much blame when the Cowboys lose, well, you now have a game where the defense gave up 51 points and never forced a punt.
Romo was not perfect. For fifty-seven and half minutes, he was close to it. You could make a case that he played as well in a loss as any quarterback in NFL history. Here’s a list of the best games by adjusted yards per attempt, which takes off for interceptions. A few guys are higher (he’s 4th on the list) but threw less than 25 times and their teams each scored less than 24 points.
There are too many plays to highlight, so we’ll just pick a few. Romo started the game 6-for-6 as Dallas scored on a beautiful catch by Dez Bryant in the back of the end zone. Then, on the next drive, on a third down, he did his best Fran Tarkenton impression and completed this pass to Jason Witten to set up the next touchdown.
Look at the gorgeous touch on this pass right over the defender to hit Gavin Escobar down the seam.
Then there was the throw to Terrance Williams right before halftime that got Dallas a late field goal to close the gap going to the locker room.
Finally, the throw to Dez Bryant, reading the safety coming up to attack the underneath out route, and flipping it over the top. Dez Bryant did the rest, but it was another great read.
Those plays don’t include the touchdown passes, including the deep bomb to Terrance Williams and the scramble at the goal line to hit Witten.
Romo is fascinating because he should be the kind of story everyone should root for: an All-American underdog tale. Small town guy, played for small high school school, had to go to a small college, won Player of the Year but went undrafted, and then becomes the quarterback of one of the most well-known sports teams in the world.
I am reminded of this article about the greatest game Antonio Ramiro Romo ever played in high school. He threw for 392 yards, and of course, Burlington, his hometown school, lost to a larger school from Racine, Wisconsin.
Fitting that it was Antonio who said in The Merchant of Venice “I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; a stage where every man must play a part, and mine a sad one.” We can’t shed too many tears for Romo, the man who can put up amazing performances, but seems destined to play his role.
Other NFL Sunday Highlights:
49ers: Jim Harbaugh Was Excited About Vernon! Vernon! Vernon! Davis’ Touchdown
Texans: Matt Schaub Throws Pick Six for Fourth Straight Game, Introduces Us to Schaub Face
Broncos: Peyton Manning’s First Touchdown Run in 5 Years Faked the Hell Out of Everyone
Colts: Colts Beat Seahawks, 34-28, Andrew Luck is the Best Young QB in the NFL
Chiefs: Kansas City Chiefs Magic Turnover Turnaround Continues With Wild Touchdown After a Punt Muff