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A Bunch Of Holiday Cheer

golf mentality. No matter how bad a shot you might hit, you know got to forget and concentrate on hitting the next one." 

There is definitely some Tin Cup in Romo, and if he keeps this up, he may do even better than Renee Russo, or as Aikman said on the Fox broadcast tongue-in-cheek, making reference to those rumors linking Romo and Jessica Simpson to a date, "Your chances got to improve when you're talking about a guy throwing five touchdown passes and got to improve (more) when you get the Galloping Gobbler." 

Gotta love Romo, who trotted off the field long after the game had ended with this Fox Thanksgiving Day award, pumping it into the air to the cheers of the crowd as he sheepishly trotted into the tunnel, knowing a lot of good-natured grief was coming his way. 

Amazing the transformation in this team, in this coaching staff, in this crowd, in the Cowboys fans - my gosh, in the team's owner, for real - since Romo took over five games ago. Look, we know what he's done tangibly. He's led the Cowboys to a 4-1 record since they were stuck in 3-3 neutral following that loss to the Giants right here. 

He's put together a 115.8 QB rating, and excuse me for laughing at the implausibility of this happening, Romo now having completed 107 of 153 passes for 1,394 yards, 10 touchdowns - TEN -- and two interceptions in his four starts. 

Or how about this? In the last three second halves, Romo has completed 29 of 31 passes for 409 yards, three touchdowns and a 151 QB rating. 


"I thought it was Aikman out there," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden said, though maybe a tad facetiously, knowing his defense was playing with one hand behind it's back, here without four starters and one playing on a bum leg. "He is a fine quarterback . . . I think he is a very polished technician right now." 

But there's more than that. As if he's some sort of court jester, he has waved his arm over these past 4½ and made all the Cowboys' troubles disappear. 

You know, we hear very little about this abysmal Cowboys offensive line these days. Anyone mention Flozell Adams of late? 

His play took the pressure right off the shoulders of kicker Mike Vanderjagt, who was only asked to kick a 22-yard field goal. He got a hall pass Thursday after Sunday's two-miss performance. 

His play has fewer people carping about Parcells losing his touch or Tony Sparano lacking play-calling ability or Mike Zimmer not being aggressive enough on defense. I'm guessing not even Owens and Todd Haley got crossways with each other Thursday. 

And miracles of miracles, Romo's inspired play has turned the attention-seeking Owens himself into just one of the guys, and if not for dunking the ball after his one touchdown catch in the red kettle, few might have realized Little T's author caught eight passes for 107 yards. 

Making T.O. disappear? 


"Definitely has been with him," said Cowboys center Andre Gurode of the team's changed disposition. "He keeps it lively in the huddle. He'll call a play, and ask, 'What play did I call?' Or, 'What's the count?'" 

Or how about this from the owner? 

"I saw a dark cloud (in the) future," Jerry Jones was saying of what he remembered when Romo took over after halftime of that Giants loss, 36-22. "And when I start seeing a little dark in the future, something's wrong because I (always) see bright lights." 

Romo made whatever aggressiveness this Tampa Bay defense could muster on this day disappear, too. And quickly. The Bucs came in here thinking they were going to blitz, and blitzed cornerback Ronde Barber off the slot when the Cowboys went three wide while they played their safeties high over the top. 

Ha, think again. OK, they got him on the first possession, sacking him the only time. 

"I'm learning I don't have to win the game in the first series," Romo said. 

But after that, he carved up the Bucs, using his feet, quick release, impeccable reads and nerve to lay 38, going on 60, on them. He led the Cowboys to touchdowns on five of their next six possessions, and a mercy field goal on the seventh. 

The next Aikman? 

"That stuff's great," Romo said, "You

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