PHILADELPHIA -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, in his 100th career start, visited the place where he’s been embarrassed in the past and instead made the Philadelphia Eagles fans boo its own team.
Romo earned his 59th career victory on Sunday afternoon in helping the Cowboys take over first-place in the NFC East with a 17-3 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
Romo didn’t have a spectacular day for a man who threw 47 passes for 317 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. When the Cowboys needed him to make plays at the right moments, he produced.
On a game-clinching fourth-quarter drive, Romo completed seven-of-eight passes for 69 yards. The only incompletion was a dropped pass by rookie running back Joseph Randle. The drive ended with Romo hitting rookie receiver Terrance Williams on a slant for a nine-yard touchdown pass.
"It was a mixture of different things but stuff you felt comfortable with throughout the game," Romo said of the drive. "You knew some of the stuff they had been doing but we hadn't had an opportunity to attack them with [different plays]. It's just about execution. We went out there and felt if you were behind almost in that football game the way it was going even though you had the lead, to come out there and put your foot down and do what we needed to do to win the game was important."
The 10-play, 72-yard drive, lasting 5:32 pushed the Cowboys to a commanding 17-3 lead and reminded everybody why Jerry Jones has confidence in him. It was such a game turning series for Romo, who threw an interception on the previous possession with three minutes left in the third quarter. The pass was for Beasley, crossing the middle of the field, but Phillip Tanner got in the way by running a bad route allowing linebacker DeMeco Ryans to pick off the pass.
Nobody dropped their heads on the sideline or felt like this is the same-old Romo, the man whose imploded in key fourth quarter moments in the past. It was Jones saying earlier in the week on his weekly radio show Romo is a solid fourth quarter quarterback.
The first possession of the fourth quarter supported that statement.
"After an interception I think sometimes it's 'let's calm down,'" Romo said. "Let's just run it three times. There is that feeling sometimes. But give Bill [Callahan] credit. He called an aggressive game. He came out right after that. To me ,that was fantastic. I understand. Sometimes it's out of your control. You throw a pick at the end of the half, a Hail Mary, basically. Those things are just random things that happen. It's about decision making. Over time you keep making decisions whether or not negative things happen every once in a blue moon. It's part of the game. It gives your team a chance to succeed. They trusted me. They trusted the team to go out and execute it and put the game away."
He's lost in this city before, even falling down in the shower after a loss in 2008 because he was in so much pain, prompting former Cowboy Tank Johnson to yell, "medic, medic." But he has also thrown for 324 yards and three touchdowns in a 2007 victory. He beat the now retired Donovan McNabb in 2009 and upended Michael Vick in a gritty performance last season.
Romo seemed in a reflective mood watching the Eagles third string quarterback, Matt Barkley, relieve an injured Nick Foles in the fourth quarter, ending the boos from the Eagles fans for a poor offensive performance.
"I've been there, we've all been there," he said.
When you look back at Romo's 100 starts it gives you pause when you notice he's thrown more passes than Joe Namath (27,747 to 27,663), has 189 career touchdowns and completed more passes through 100 games than Dan Marino, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner.
Yet, Romo is judged on championships, that's just how it is around here. And Romo noted if goals are to be achieved in January, the defensive effort on Sunday, holding the Eagles to a season-low 278 yards, are needed in 2013.
"I think more than anything, it's not something I think about or anything," Romo said on start 100. "I know it was talked about this week. It's when you're playing the game, it's hard to reflect why you're still trying to accomplish your goals and what you're set up to do. I'm sure there will be a time for it where I will sit back and think some great things and have some great memories and think about the people I've been around. Right now, I don't think it's the time for it."