The Dallas Cowboys were favored by 10 points at Buffalo last night. But the oddsmakers didn’t figure Tony Romo to throw five interceptions — two for immediate TDs — and lose a fumble. But, amazingly, the Cowboys still won. Tim Cowlishaw observes, “Now we know just how great Tony Romo is.”
Troy Aikman lost his five-pick game to the Giants. Steve Pelluer lost his to the Raiders. Danny White lost his to the Giants. Eddie LeBaron? He lost a pair to the Eagles and Cardinals.
On the Monday Night Football stage, it was Romo â€“ the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September and the man pretty much anointed as the next best thing after Peyton Manning and Tom Brady â€“ who panicked, not the youthful Buffalo Bills defense. And still, Dallas kept its unbeaten record with a 25-24 victory.
Romo threw five interceptions, two that went for touchdowns, and lost what appeared to be a costly fumble on a scramble. But an onside kick recovery by Tony Curtis with 18 seconds to go gave Romo one final chance against the hapless Bills. After referee Peter Morelli used replay to overturn a catch by Terrell Owens and rule it a drop, Romo had 13 seconds to move the Cowboys into field goal range.
Out of timeouts, the Cowboys could no longer use the center of the field because there was no time to complete a pass and spike the ball. So Romo hit Marion Barber near the right sideline, and Barber got out of bounds for a 4-yard gain to the 43 with seven seconds to go. The Bills then let Patrick Crayton catch a pass in the same area and get out of bounds at the 35 with one second left.
And rookie Nick Folk became Nick Folk Hero when he nailed the 53-yard field goal for the game-winner. He did it twice, actually, with the Bills calling timeout just before the snap the first time.
Tight end Jason Witten, again Romo’s favorite target with nine catches, said this should only elevate Romo’s status. “If there was any doubt there, they need to believe now,” Witten said. “I was trying to stay in his ear and support him, but he doesn’t need it. He keeps on fighting and knows he can make big plays at the end.”
“I put the team in a hole early in the game, and our team dug me out of it,” Romo said. “You never want to throw that many picks, but I guess everybody does it sometime. We’ve just got a really resilient team.”
While you have to hand it to Romo keeping his composure and leading a comeback TD drive and then getting the team into field goal range after such a bad night, the real heroes of the game are Nick Folk and the Dallas defense.
Romo gave the Bills two free touchdowns and a sloppy kickoff coverage gave them another. The Cowboys D — despite four Romo turnovers that didn’t lead to direct scores — gave up only a field goal.
And Folk, in addition to making a 53 yard field goal with the game on the line, twice, despite never having made a kick that big in his career, made the crucial onside kick look easy.
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