A closer look at Tony Romo's struggles

Tony Romo

RomoTony Romo had two big turnovers in the fourth quarter Sunday night -- a fumble inside the Jets’ five-yard line and an interception that led to the game-winning field goal. His Total QBR -- ESPN’s new metric that takes into account everything a quarterback does, not just passing -- fell from 85.2 in the first three quarters to 10.2 in the fourth.

Does that mean that Romo is not clutch?

Tony Romo Since 2008 Passing by Quarter

Over the past three-plus seasons, Romo has been better statistically almost across the board in the fourth quarter and overtime than in the first three quarters. His yards per attempt and touchdown percentage increase while his interception and sack rates go down.

Since 2008, his Total QBR is virtually identical in those periods: 58.6 in the first three quarters and 58.4 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

He’s essentially the same quarterback in the fourth quarter and overtime as he is before; there’s not a huge spike in fumbles, interceptions, sacks or anything else negative.

Tony Romo Passing by Quarter NFL Ranks Since 2008

Romo is 18th (among 23 quarterbacks with 50 action plays) in Pass Expected Points Added (6.68) when only looking at plays that carry significant clutch weight, like when the score is within eight points in the fourth quarter or later and third/fourth down plays.

On those plays, Romo's receivers have the the third-highest yards after catch Expected Points Added (3.17) of the same 23 quarterbacks. Cowboys receivers also have the highest yards after catch per reception rate on third and fourth downs in late and close games (7.6), as well as the highest YAC percentage of passing yards in those same situations (53 percent, the only team over 50).

Simply put, Romo “lets his receivers do the work” in important situations, leaving him with an average fourth quarter/overtime Total QBR as opposed to his elite NFL passer rating that rewards blowout yardage.

Tony Romo’s Total QBR Since 2008

One common knock on Romo is that he doesn't perform well in primetime or nationally televised games. But the numbers don't bear that out either.

Since 2008, he's played 17 of these "big games", which include primetime games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, as well as Thanksgiving and playoff games.

In all of those games, his Total QBR is 55.9. In two Thanksgiving games, it's an 82.0, and in three Monday Night Football games, it's a 71.5 In the same span, his overall QBR is 58.2, so there's not much evidence that he plays worse in spotlight games.

Breaking down his recent career in this way lends credence to the theory that last Sunday's meltdown in East Rutherford was more of an aberration than the norm for Romo.

-- Dean Oliver and John Parolin contributed to this report