MIAMI – His first drive in nine weeks, he got the ball at his own 4-yard line in a howling rainstorm.
His first dropback, he got pressured so heavily that he threw the ball left-handed to just get rid of it.
Welcome back, Tony.
Not exactly pristine conditions for Romo at, ironically enough, Sun Life Stadium, in his much-anticipated return Sunday. He showed some expected rust, too, throwing two interceptions to a pesky Dolphins defense.
But the veteran quarterback eventually settled in and led the Cowboys to a 24-14 road win – their first victory since Sept. 20 when he fractured his collarbone and landed on the injured reserve/designated to return list.
"I walked out to warmups (Sunday and) I said, 'Well, let's see – we've got gusting winds, we've got rain, you've got a good (Dolphins) defensive line, maybe as good as we're going to go up against, and they come out with some great coverage stuff we hadn't seen.
"The funny thing was, you go through it all and that's the way it's supposed to be. That's why it's the NFL. That's why it's football. You almost take it as a challenge and it almost makes it more enjoyable, if that makes sense."
Very little about the Cowboys' season has seemed logical. Prior to Sunday, they had lost all seven games without him – the franchise's longest losing streak in 26 years – even though five defeats were by a combined 24 points.
Clearly the offense missed him at the controls. Clearly the entire team missed his presence.
Romo finished the game 18-of-28 for 227 yards, with touchdown passes to Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams. He said he got into rhythm as the game wore on – his footwork got better, and trusted what he saw schematically from Miami. Some of his throws early on were low or away as he adjusted to game speed again.
"I thought his manner and just his demeanor throughout was outstanding," head coach Jason Garrett said. "Sometimes you get into a situation like this where you haven't played and sometimes you want to play a little fast. I thought he did a good job controlling that."
Now Romo and the Cowboys get to try it all over again in four days against the unbeaten Carolina Panthers.
Again, not an ideal turnaround time for the 35-year-old captain after such a long layoff. But he has played in eight previous Thanksgiving games and knows how to get himself ready to play.
"Body feels fine," he said. "I think it'll be a short week, so we'll get back in and do the things to give us a good chance this week."
With four minutes remaining in the first quarter, Romo completed his first of four passes to Bryant – just as the rain stopped.
A couple hours later, the losing streak was over.
"He's the leader of our team," tight end Jason Witten said. "He gets us into great looks. He's a competitor. He makes a lot of plays. I thought you saw him do that today at his best."