IRVING, Texas – It's fitting that Tony Romo would field questions about his recovery from back surgery with Washington looming on the schedule.
It was the Cowboys' Week 16 win at Washington that saw Romo herniate a disc in his back, after all. Romo would have surgery days later, miss the season finale and proceed to field endless questions about the injury in the following months.
"Sometimes I cringe thinking about it, playing in that game," Romo said. "It's just part of playing professional sports, playing in a game and you're hurt or banged up or whatever, and you just kind of play through it."
That injury has dominated the headlines since it happened – from Romo's offseason recovery to his lightened workload in training camp. Even during the Cowboys' six-game win streak, he has limited himself by missing the first practice of game week.
The veteran quarterback sparked plenty of conversation during the summer when, at the outset of training camp, he made a bold prediction regarding the rest of his career.
"I feel personally like I've just started to come into the player that I wanted to be six, seven years ago," Romo said in July. "I think -- and I've said it before -- but I think over the course of the next four or five years, you'll see the best version of me that I've had throughout my career."
[embeddedad0]That prediction looked like a flop when Romo threw three interceptions in the first half of the Week 1 loss to San Francisco. It didn't look much better in Week 2, when he won – but using a less-than-impressive skillset.
The past five weeks have been a revelation, however. Romo is completing 72.4 percent of his passes over the last five games, and he's averaging roughly 279 yards per game. With the exception of a pick-six against St. Louis and an interception against Houston, he's been virtually mistake-free. And famously, he's managed three or four escape acts not expected of a 34-year-old coming off back surgery.
There are still nine games remaining this season, but that summer prediction looks pretty prophetic right now.
"When the technical side meets with the physical side, you're able to kind of go out and be at your best," Romo said. "I just knew that those things were kind of coming into play – both the throwing technique, and then you add in some of the knowledge and experience and stuff that you think about in the mental part. It gives you a chance to succeed."