IRVING, Texas -- Tony Romo is well aware of Emmitt Smith wondering whether the Cowboys have the mental toughness required to win a road game of this magnitude and points to a pair of victories as proof that they are.
“This football team just has a way of keep coming back and keep grinding,” Romo said. “Obviously, it comes down to a game like this. That’s why you play sports.”
Granted, neither of those were win-or-go home games with the type of hype and scrutiny that comes with an NFC East title game against the New York Giants. But they both had a gotta-have-it feel for the Cowboys.
The comeback in San Francisco is an especially interesting example, although nobody knew at the time that the 49ers were one of the NFC’s top teams. Romo returned from a fractured rib and punctured lung suffered in the first half to lead a rally from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to allow the Cowboys to win in overtime.
That came on the heels of a catastrophic ending in the season opener, when two Romo turnovers played a major role in the Cowboys blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead in a loss to the New York Jets. Coming off of last season’s awful start, the Cowboys couldn’t afford to dig an 0-2 hole.
“It felt like a must-win at that time, and we went out there and laid it on the line and the team won and we were trailing late in that game,” said Romo, who completed 12 of 15 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter and overtime period at Candlestick Park. “So there was a lot of mental toughness in that game.”
Regardless of Emmitt’s doubts, Romo expects the Cowboys to show a lot of mental toughness again with the season on the line in the Meadowlands.