Tony Romo: Ranking His Performances in His 15 Full Dallas Cowboys Games

Tom Firme@TFirmeAnalyst IIJanuary 6, 2012

Tony Romo: Ranking His Performances in His 15 Full Dallas Cowboys Games

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    Tony Romo had a solid season for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011. Romo threw for 4,000 yards for the first time in his career and had his best touchdown-to-interception ratio (31 to 10). Also, Romo remarkably placed fourth in the NFL in passer rating.

    Romo had some very nice performances. He had four comeback wins. Ironically, all of those wins finished with a Dan Bailey field goal. Also, Romo had five 300-yard games and nine games with passer ratings of 100 or better.

    Following is a ranking of each full game that Romo played. Including the Week 16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles would be unfair because he only played four snaps before his freak hand bruise. Read along to see which were his best and worst performances.

15. Week 4 vs. Detroit Lions

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    34-of-47, 331 yards passing, 3 TD, 3 INT

    Initially, the blown game against the New York Jets seemed like a worse performance. However, looking back now, the Detroit Lions loss is worse. 

    First, Romo blew this game practically by himself. He didn't have Mat McBriar to help him fold by having a punt blocked. Romo had an amazing three-touchdown run in the first 27 minutes—leading the average fan to believe that the game was over. Then, he threw three second-half interceptions.

    That's tough to predict.

    Second, it's not like he was facing the Jets defense. Chris Houston picked him off, not Darrelle Revis.

    Romo handed his old teammate Bobby Carpenter, a failed Bill Parcells project, his first career interception.

    By the way, two of those three interceptions came back for touchdowns.

14. Week 1 @ New York Jets

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    23-of-36, 342 passing yards, 2 TD, INT

    Romo looked like he had the Jets under control until early in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys led 24-10 early in the fourth quarter. Romo had thrown for two touchdowns. He looked very accurate.

    Suddenly, the game unraveled. Romo fumbled on the Jets' 2-yard line shortly after hitting Jason Witten with a 64-yard pass. Then, in the final minute, Romo made a bad read on a throw, and Darrelle Revis picked it off. That led to the go-ahead field goal for the Jets.

    Before then, Romo had left Revis to his island. He only made a few throws in Revis' direction, and Dez Bryant, whom Revis covered that game, only took three catches.

    Romo had one more chance. His last stand was a weak one—completing only one of three intermediate throws—and the end result was the Cowboys' first-ever loss after leading by 14 points in the fourth quarter.

13. Week 8 @ Philadelphia Eagles

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    18-of-35, 203 yards passing, TD, INT

    The Cowboys were completely off against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8. Romo couldn't help the team as they missed in virtually all aspects of the game. Romo barely completed more than half of his passes. He threw an interception, but it was due to Martellus Bennett bobbling and losing the ball.

    But his inaccuracy was alarming. Week 8 was his least accurate performance since he went 13-of-29 on Sept. 20, 2009 against the New York Giants.

12. Week 17 @ New York Giants

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    29-of-37, 289 passing yards, 2 TD, INT

    This is a tough one. Entering the week, Cowboys fans had plenty of reasons to be wary about Romo's bruised hand as it was very swollen. Early in the week, it seemed like Romo could be strong. But he didn't have great progress throughout the week.

    This set up for a caustic outing Sunday night. Romo started slow on Sunday. He made conservative passes, sticking with short passes in the first half.

    In the second half, Romo came back with a vengeance, hoping to bring the Cowboys back from a 21-point deficit. He made some big throws. Early in the third quarter, Romo hit Laurent Robinson with a 34-yard touchdown pass.

    Later in the quarter, Romo became giddy, making a throw too quickly and having it intercepted.

    Romo played hard in the second half. He threw for 193 yards. His throws were gutsier, and he played much more aggressively than in the first half.

    It was all for naught. With the defense unable to keep the Giants out of the end zone, Romo couldn't bring the Cowboys all the way back.

    Romo's bruised hand hindered him. He wasn't able to make all of the throws that he normally would have.  He couldn't make the deep throws.

11. Week 7 vs. St. Louis Rams

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    14-of-24, 166 yards, 2 TD

    Romo didn't do too much against the St. Louis Rams. He didn't have one of his more accurate performances. Also, he only threw a few deep balls.

    That was one of the rare games in which Romo threw fewer times than there were rushing attempts.

    Romo did have strong points. He didn't create turnovers. Also, he did have his two touchdown passes.

10. Week 3 vs. Washington Redskins

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    22-of-36, 255 passing yards, INT

    Romo had a nice comeback win against the Washington Redskins. He managed to carry the team despite his broken rib. In the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, Romo took the Cowboys on a long drive to win.

    However, Romo didn't have a terrific game. He threw an interception and was extraordinarily accurate.  Also, Romo was only 2-of-6 for nine yards and an interception on third downs.

    Also, the Cowboys relied completely on Dan Bailey for scoring. Bailey scored all 18 points on six field goals, including the game-winning kick. By the way, 30 of the 64 yards on the final scoring yards came on a pass interference call.

9. Week 12 vs. Miami Dolphins

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    22-of-34, 226 passing yards, 2 TD, 2 INT

    Tony Romo didn't have a spectacular Thanksgiving against the Miami Dolphins. He threw two interceptions. 

    Meanwhile, Romo had a few very nice moments. Romo's two touchdown passes to Robinson were both pretty. He took the Cowboys on a comeback drive at the end of the game. However, Dan Bailey once again had to pitch in and kick the game-winning field goal.

    It wasn't pretty, but Romo overcame his mistakes to bring the Cowboys to victory.

8. Week 13 @ Arizona Cardinals

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    28-of-42, 299 yards, TD

    Statistically, Romo had a very nice game. He completed two-thirds of his passes. Also, Romo nearly threw for 300 yards.

    On the other hand, Romo didn't do a great deal to bring a win. His fourth quarter was unimpressive. Romo threw three incomplete passes on a drive in the latter part of the quarter. Also, he only threw short passes in the last drive of regulation.

    Overall, Romo wasn't very aggressive. He only threw one or two deep balls. He didn't have to be that conservative against such a poor Arizona Cardinals defense.

7. Week 6 @ New England Patriots

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    27-of-41, 317 yards passing, TD, INT

    Romo almost outplayed Tom Brady in an intriguing quarterback duel, but Brady kept the New England Patriots on top most of the game. Romo couldn't put the Cowboys ahead early. Drives tailed off with incomplete passes. Also, he threw an interception early on.

    Romo warmed up as the game went along. He took the Cowboys on a stellar touchdown drive. After hitting John Phillips with a very nice pass to put the Cowboys on the 5-yard line, he put the Cowboys in the end zone with a strike to Jason Witten.

    In the fourth quarter, Brady showed why he's one of the three best quarterbacks in the NFL, and Romo showed why he still stands outside the ranks of premier quarterbacks. Brady took the Patriots on a touchdown drive, while Romo couldn't bring the Cowboys to the end zone. Romo saw a drive spin out after an incomplete pass and a poorly called shovel pass.

    The last drive was no encouragement. Romo hit Robinson and Witten with passes to put the Cowboys in opposing territory. His last shot at the end zone was no good. Some quarterbacks have shown an ability to make great plays in the final seconds, but Romo hasn't shown himself to be one of those guys.

6. Week 9 vs. Seattle Seahawks

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    19-of-31, 279 yards passing, 2 TD

    Romo was solid against the Seattle Seahawks. He threw for two touchdowns and was quite accurate. His deep touchdown pass to Jason Witten was beautiful.

    Above all, Romo was mistake-free. Along with being accurate, he avoided throwing interceptions.Playing mistake-free ball was important in bouncing back from one of his less proud days under center the previous week against the Eagles.

5. Week 11 @ Washington Redskins

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    23-of-37, 292 passing yards, 3 TD

    Romo was on his game as the Cowboys took down the Redskins in the second meeting. All of his touchdown passes were pretty throws. He was accurate, hitting more than two-thirds of his passes.

    Romo brought the Cowboys from behind to lead midway through the fourth quarter. If only the Cowboys defense would have kept the Redskins out of the end zone, Romo's work would have been even more pristine.

4. Week 14 vs. New York Giants

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    21-of-31, 321 yards passing, 4 TD

    Romo had a solid outing in the first match with the Giants. He was very accurate, completing more than two-thirds of his passes. Romo put the Cowboys in the end zone, grabbing his first four-touchdown game since Nov. 29, 2007, against the Green Bay Packers.

    Romo recovered from an early safety to take the Cowboys on an 80-yard touchdown drive, which ending with a 12-yard scoring pass to John Phillips, his first career touchdown catch.

    Romo's nine-yard touchdown pass to Robinson in the second quarter was a thing of beauty.

    The fourth quarter was nice, but it didn't end too well for Romo. He hit Robinson with a 74-yard bomb, which led to a touchdown pass to Miles Austin. Later, he took advantage of a blown coverage to hook up with Dez Bryant on a 50-yard touchdown pass. 

    Then, things fell apart, although Romo didn't make the worst mistakes. Romo overthrew Austin on a late third-down play. On the last drive, Romo was caught off guard and mishandled a snap, which forced him to dump it off to Felix Jones.

    Generally, the game went very well for Romo, and he made terrific plays. He made a few mistakes, but they didn't cost the team as much as the defensive doldrums did.

3. Week 15 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    23-of-30, 249 yards, 3 TD

    Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Romo was absolutely wonderful. He was accurate, completing more than three-quarters of his passes. He led the Cowboys to a 28-0 lead, and the Cowboys stayed out in front.

    Also, he ran for a touchdown for the first time since Sept. 20, 2009.

    That the Cowboys hung on to the lead says a great deal about Romo's performance. He didn't make mistakes to let the Bucs back into the game. He lit it up when he needed to and played it safe when he needed to. His great decision-making was laudable.

2. Week 10 vs. Buffalo Bills

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    23-of-26, 270 yards passing, 3 TD

    Romo was just about immaculate against the Buffalo Bills in Week 10. He completed 88.6 percent of his passes. He paired three touchdowns with no interceptions.

    Romo was hot from the start of the game. He completed his first twelve passes, going until the 5:53 mark in the second quarter without missing a target. Before the halftime horn, Romo had the Cowboys leading 28-7, and didn't let his team look back. They'd end up with a 44-7 margin.

    Romo had his second best passer rating ever (148.4) that day. Only a Nov. 23, 2006, performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers garnered a better rating (148.9).

1. Week 2 @ San Francisco 49ers

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    20-of-33, 345 passing yards, 2 TD

    No performance by Romo of the 2011 season stands out more than the comeback victory against the San Francisco 49ers. Romo suffered a rib injury on the third play from scrimmage. Later, Romo came back to aid the Cowboys' effort.

    His return to the game didn't start cleanly. Romo completed only nine of his first 19 passes. Eventually, his rhythm returned. He'd go 11-of-14 for 193 yards and two touchdowns down the stretch to bring the Cowboys back from a 14-point deficit to force overtime.

    The overtime period was a sweet period for Romo and the Cowboys. On the first Cowboys play of overtime, Romo hit Jesse Holley with a 77-yard pass. That set up a 19-yard field goal by Dan Bailey.

    Romo's heroics that day washed away bitter sentiments concerning his blown game against the Jets the week before. Later, it turned out Romo had a broken rib and a punctured lung, making his heroics seem even more amazing.