NFL: Romo on a roll

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 22, 2011

Associated Press
IRVING, Texas — Tony Romo is on quite a roll, even though he has never had a winning December for the Dallas Cowboys.
Right after their last game, owner Jerry Jones declared that it would be a career disappointment for him if the NFC East-leading Cowboys missed the playoffs this season when their quarterback is playing so well.
“I just think anytime you’re in this position, where you have a chance to make the playoffs, it’s important to get it done,” Romo said. “It’s hard to get here. It’s also fun to be in this position and have a chance. I think that’s exciting for our football team, that’s why guys are playing with a lot of passion and are energized to be here every day. That’s a great feeling.”
The Cowboys (8-6) play their regular-season home finale against Philadelphia (6-8) on Saturday. If the New York Giants lose earlier in the day against the Jets, Dallas would have a chance to clinch the NFC East title.
Though Dallas has won only one of its three December games, the victory coming last week at Tampa Bay, Romo has completed 70 percent of his passes for 869 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions in that stretch. He has 22 TDs with only four picks his last 10 games.
“I tell you what, he’s playing very, very good football right now,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “It’s a tribute to him and that whole offense there, but he’s putting that ball into small windows, doing a nice job with it.”
After the Cowboys swept through their four November games, improving Romo’s career record as a starter in that month to 19-2, they lost their first two games in December when they missed field goals at the end of regulation in both.
Romo has a 10-14 record overall in December, and has never won more than two games in the last month of the calendar year. But his eight TDs this month are already more than he’s ever had in December.
“It’s about us going out and winning football games, so I don’t think about any individual stats or any of that stuff,” Romo said. “Any time you step on the field, you’ve got to have confidence in your abilities as a team and, obviously, individually. Our team continues to grow and get better.”
Romo, in his sixth season as the Cowboys starter, got his first playoff victory two years ago when the Cowboys beat the Eagles in the regular-season finale and then again the following week in the NFC wildcard game.
In 2006, after Romo became the starter seven games into the season, the Cowboys lost 21-20 in the playoffs at Seattle when Romo flubbed the hold on a short field-goal attempt and was tackled short of the end zone trying to scramble for a score. A year later in the postseason, the Cowboys were home as the No. 1 seed after a bye week and lost 27-21 to the Giants after Romo’s fourth-down pass with 9 seconds left was intercepted in the end zone.
Romo was asked if he was worried they may be running out of chances and if there was a feeling of having to do it now.
“I just think you have to put your head down and win football games and keep getting better as a team throughout the season. We’ll deal with the end of the stuff later,” Romo said. “It’s hard to be in this position, to be in first place this late in the year.
“You need to go out and obviously finish it, and then start the whole new season once the playoffs begin,” he said. “So our objective is just keep getting better, put our heads down and go win a football game this week.”
Notes: Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan says the Cowboys are getting the “ultimate mulligan” with a chance to play Philadelphia again. The Eagles beat the Cowboys 34-7 and rolled up 495 yards in October after Ryan’s preseason comments calling the Eagles the “all-hype team” and saying his squad would easily handle them. “ We had a bad game that day,” Ryan said. … RB Felix Jones missed practice again Thursday because of tightness in his hamstring. Coach Jason Garrett hasn’t ruled Jones out of Saturday’s game even though he has been limited to working on the side and going to meetings this week. … LB DeMarcus Ware and NT Jay Ratliff were both limited in practice for the second consecutive day, but are expected to play.
The Associated Press
12/22/11 16:18