ARLINGTON, Texas – A quarterback who has seen just about everything: It's invaluable for a football team.
Tony Romo, now 35 years old, playing the first game of his 13th NFL season, assessed the situation. The Cowboys trailed by six with 1:34 remaining. No timeouts. Ball on their own 28-yard line.
Without two starters Dez Bryant (foot) and Ronald Leary (groin), Romo and the offense went to work.
Six plays and 1:27 later they were in the end zone. Romo found tight end Jason Witten for the second time in the fourth quarter, this time from 11 yards out for deciding touchdown in Sunday's 27-26 thrilling victory over the New York Giants.
"A couple years ago we trailed in just about every single game," Romo said. "We were losing in the second half in about 15 or 16 of the games. That was kind of the normal par for the course. Either you're going to be comfortable in these situations, or you're going to lose a lot of them. You just have to execute under that feeling."
Romo made it look that way in his 24th career comeback win.
His first two passes went to running back Lance Dunbar against single coverage for a combined 40 yards to the Giants' 32-yard line. Romo then hit Witten over the middle for 13 yards, and after an incomplete pass that stopped the clock, he threw an 8-yard completion to wide receiver Terrance Williams who ran out of bounds at the 11-yard line with 13 seconds left.
The touchdown play was vintage Romo: After a low snap, he calmly picked up the ball and, feeling pressure to his right, fired the ball into the end zone to Witten, who had found a soft spot in front of Giants linebacker Uani Unga.
"The big throw to Witten, the touch was unbelievable," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. "Tremendous amount of confidence in that huddle, and a lot of it comes from the confidence the quarterback projects to the team. Everybody responded the right way. Obviously a big win for us."
Witten also caught a 1-yard touchdown from Romo with 5:11 remaining that cut into a commanding 10-point Giants lead and started the Cowboys' improbable rally.
"He's at his best in those situations," said, Witten who had eight catches for 60 yards. "He thrives in those moments."
Romo completed 36-of-45 passes (80 percent) for 356 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions for a 103.3 quarterback rating. The 10-point deficit entering the fourth quarter marked the largest deficit overcome by Romo and the Cowboys in the final period since a 13-point deficit they overcame at Detroit on Dec. 9, 2007.
"You have to guard against trying to do too much like score 10 points in a drive, which you can't do obviously. But you don't have to score in one play," Romo said. "You can execute over and over again and put the pressure back on them. And then you reassess and get the ball back again. We had some success doing that a couple years ago and we've taken that approach ever since. We take the mindset that the game is just getting started halfway through the fourth quarter."
Said team owner/general manager Jerry Jones: "It shows you his competitiveness. It was as loud and clear as I've ever seen it. I don't know if we've seen a better competitor. He just has a will to step out there and win. If you can get him within distance, he's a threat to win every time."