Tony Romo will have yet another opportunity to exorcise his postseason demons, as the Cowboys (12-4) host the Lions (11-5) in the NFC Wild Card this Sunday at 4:40 p.m. ET.
Romo, 34, has played masterfully this season, completing a career-high 69.9 percent of his passes. He’s also thrown just nine interceptions – his fewest since 2010, when he played just six games.
What’s been the reason for Romo’s relatively mistake-free play this season?
“No. 1, I think he has a great group of guys around him,” former Cowboy Terrell Owens said on Tiki and Tierney. “I think with mistakes and with a lot of lessons in a lot of situations that he’s been in, he’s learned a lot, and I think it’s equivalent to life. When you go through life, you’re going to have some ups and downs. You’re going to make some mistakes, and if you can learn from those mistakes and make yourself a better person, in the long run, you’re going to be better. You’re going to receive and you’re going to reap the rewards.
“And I think that’s what he’s done throughout the course of his career,” Owens continued. “He’s been up and down, he’s been sporadic, he’s played erratic at times, he’s made some untimely mistakes down the stretches of games – and you haven’t seen that this year with Tony. Even with the back injury, I think everybody was kind of skeptical. Everyone was kind of holding their breath to see what he was going to do throughout the course of the year, and I think he’s rebounded from that quite nicely, to be honest.”
It also helps that Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray have had career years. Bryant had 88 catches for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns, while Murray had 392 carries for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“(Romo) has what they call the Big Three with himself, Dez Bryant and Murray,” Owens said. “And when you have a football team – and obviously Tiki can attest to this – when you have a running game, that is solid. You look at their passing game. That’s there. They have the necessary weapons. They’ve utilized Jason Witten. (Romo has) really come into his own through the course of the year by utilizing the tight end when he needed to and Dez being that playmaker that he’s been and what he’s been drafted to be. And he has some other people that are helping him along the way.”
But will the Cowboys win a playoff game – something they’ve done just once since 1996?
“Nobody’s believing it until it actually happens,” Owens said. “Playoffs is a different animal. Everybody is going to be gunning for you. Everybody is going to be well equipped, well-prepared. In the playoffs, you got to have all three phases of your football games to come into play, and I haven’t seen a lot from their special teams. That may very well come into play during these playoffs.”
And if Dallas does get by Detroit, does Romo have what it takes to lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl?
“Well, you got to win one game,” Owens said. “You got to win the playoff first. You can’t put the cart before the horse. Again, you got to win a playoff game before you get to the Super Bowl. All the eyes – and I think a lot of pressure – (are) going to be on Romo, so again, a lot of things are going to come into play during these playoffs. They’re playing with a lot of rookie guys, a lot of new guys, on the defensive side of the ball. Are these guys ready? Or are they going to be deer in the headlights in their first playoff game? So the inexperience may come into play as well.”