Hooked On A Feeling

end of the game and the end of the first half. Remember, with the Cowboys heading toward a season-high 20-7 halftime deficit, only 1:36 remaining to do anything about it, Romo engineered a 65-yard drive in seven plays, throwing a wonderful 12-yard lob pass in the face of an all-out Detroit blitz to Barber, narrowing the deficit to 20-14 with 23 seconds to spare.

Detroit was making life tough on Romo and the Cowboys' passing game. The Lions (6-7), now losers of five straight and three straight at home, played that menacing Tampa-2 defense to the hilt. Nothing available over the top. They doubled Terrell Owens (three catches) all day. By golly, the Lions were saying, T.O. is not going to beat us . . . T.O. is not going to beat us.

In the end, Owens effectively beat them, because stubbornly paying so much attention to the NFC's leader in receiving yards allowed Cowboys tight end Jason Witten to snag a franchise single-game high 15 passes for 138 yards. They couldn't do both, and Romo showed he learned something from that five-interception game in Buffalo when he stubbornly tried to out-gun that deep zone coverage with the linebackers dropping, too.

"You learn - some of these things that happen are an invaluable experience for you," Romo said. "Buffalo played a similar coverage, and I did some things and learned some things."

Yeah, like don't stray too far from your keys. If they challenge you to throw the ball patiently underneath to your tight end, do it. If you must check the ball down to your running back, do it, as he did in this game, with 25 of his 35 completions (44 attempts) going to Witten (15) and Barber (10 for 61 yards).

And guess what? You can still throw for 300 yards (302, his club-record-stretching seventh time this season) and still end up with a 110.4 QB rating. You can still win the game, even if they give you only 2:15 to go 83 yards without a timeout to win the game. And you can succeed in the face of heavy pressure, and Detroit did pressure Romo, sacking him three times and causing him to scamper to safety far too many times.

"If you can get to the quarterback, then you can't wait on things down the field," Romo said of why he was basically ruling out any notion of attacking the Lions deep. "And if you do (wait), then you'll miss the underneath stuff."

Romo didn't miss much. On the game-winning drive, and with only a two-minute warning in his hip pocket, Romo completed 8 of 10 passes, and one of those two incompletions was a very catchable ball to Owens. That also included that clutch fourth-down check-down to Barber for 13 yards after Kosier recovered Romo's fumble that basically was kicked back to the Cowboys in the wild melee by Detroit linebacker Paris Lemon.

But none was prettier than the game-winner. It's second-and-6 at the 16 with 22 seconds left. Remember, no timeouts. A completion within the boundary would have left the Cowboys with but one more play - probably. The Cowboys lined up three wide. Witten was tight to the line of scrimmage on Owens' side of the field.

"I periph-ed them," Romo said of his read at the snap of the ball, meaning he relied on his peripheral vision to "see which guy comes up. I take a step and read the linebacker and the safety at the same time."

Meaning, if the linebacker drops off, that eliminates Witten from the read. If the safety drops off, that eliminates the wide receiver from the read. The safety dropped, giving him Witten with one-on-one coverage.

Still not simple. Because if Witten doesn't angle inside to the left just a little, that allows the safety hedging his bet between Witten and Romo to get to the tight end.

"He had a great angle on his cut," Romo said.

"He was a flawless as you can be," said Witten of Romo, knowing his game-winning catch left the "goat" tag at Ford Field after fumbling away the previous possession fighting for the go-ahead touchdown.

But didn't you know Romo would be? Didn't you just have that feeling after Hanson missed that field goal Romo would do his thing? Right? Admit it, you never gave up hope as long as the ball was in Romo's hand and there were precious seconds remaining on the clock.

You haven't had this feeling - the Cowboys haven't had

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