Jason Garrett has 'great belief' in Tony Romo

IRVING, Texas -- As Tony Romo bears the brunt of another elimination game loss following his three-interception effort against Washington on Sunday, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett defended his starting quarterback.

“We have great belief of Tony Romo as our quarterback, Garrett said. “Tony has won a lot of big games for us, too, to get us to the point where we can play for the division in Week 17 in consecutive years. We all know that we want to take the next step and Tony is going to be a big part of that going forward. I think you have to understand the whole body of work. I think you have to understand that winning is how we get evaluated. He’s done a lot of great things for this franchise. We’re excited about him being our quarterback.”

Romo is signed through 2013 but will count $16.8 million against the salary cap. The Cowboys would like to sign him to an extension to lower that figure and help upgrade the roster around Romo. He put off contract talks at the beginning of the season.

Romo finished with a career-high 4,903 yards with 28 touchdown passes and a career-high tying 19 interceptions. He was sacked 36 times for the second straight year.

Garrett said Romo’s pass on the first interception sailed on him to Kevin Ogletree and the second one, a deep ball to Miles Austin, was too far inside. The third turnover, which effectively ended the Cowboys’ chances, was a result of not getting enough air on the ball to the flat to DeMarco Murray.

“So you can try and put a lot of different spins on it, but I think what you have to do more than anything else is simply try to analyze what happened on those three plays, and that’s the explanation,” Garrett said. “And one of the things you can say, ‘Were the emotions too big?’ I don’t think so. Did one snowball into the next? I really don’t think so. I thought his demeanor throughout the ball game was good. He settled down. We got going again, and then at that critical moment in the ball game, they made a good play and we didn’t make that play. And that was a really important play in the ball game, obviously.”