Dallas Cowboy fans are all too familiar with this story.
After another epic Tony Romo collapse—a 24-point comeback by the Detroit Lions in a 34-30 loss—the Cowboys are now 2-2 in the 2011 NFL season.
The thing that makes this agonizing is that while Romo deserves most of the blame for both losses this season, he deserves most of the praise for both wins.
NBC’s Bob Costas summed it up best at halftime of the Sunday Night Football game between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens.
“Here is a guy who see-saws between hero’s laurels and goat horns, seemingly from game to game”, Costas said.
The collapses to the Jets and the Lions began with crucial mistakes that gave the opponent life and ended with an interception that allowed the other team to score on the game-winning drive.
However, the wins to the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins came in gutsy performances where he battled through a broken rib. In both games, Romo led the Cowboys to victory on a clinching drive.
It is easy to say that with or without Romo, the Cowboys could be anywhere between 4-0 and 0-4 if certain things were played out differently. Yet, the Cowboys are 2-2, and it leaves many fans with a wide range of emotions from frustrated and mad in the losses to relieved and satisfied in the wins.
When Romo plays well, he plays like one of the top ten quarterbacks in the league. A three-time Pro Bowler, he never completed less than 61.3 percent of his passes or had a passer rating below 91.4 in a regular season.
Yet, the focus remains Romo’s more notable performances in the clutch. He is 1-3 in the playoffs and has yet to reach the NFC Championship Game. Plus, in some games he tries to do a bit too much, leading to forced passes for momentum-swinging interceptions.
The only solution for the Cowboys and their fan base? Just stick with him and take the good with the bad. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones shares the same attitude.
“However we go, we go with Tony,” Jones said. “As Tony goes, we’ll go.”
The Cowboys will have two weeks to mentally prepare for a tough road test against the New England Patriots on Oct. 16.