In his postgame news conference, Tony Romo was asked if the Cowboys could climb out of the hole created by their seven-game losing streak in his absence.
“You got to take it one game at a time,” Romo said. “I don’t know what Carolina did today. They won? So they’re undefeated. So we know how good they are. They’re going to provide a great challenge.”
The Panthers are 10-0, tied with the New England Patriots for the best record in the NFL. They have actually won 14 straight regular-season games dating back to last season’s run that put them in the playoffs with a 7-8-1 record.
But undefeated teams this late in a season don’t deter the Cowboys or Romo.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Romo is the only starting quarterback all-time to have multiple wins against teams that 9-0 or better.
In just the fourth start of his career, Romo beat the 9-0 Indianapolis Colts at Texas Stadium on Nov. 19, 2006. He completed 19 of 23 passes for 226 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass and was intercepted once. But on the game-winning, seven-play, 80-yard drive, he completed all three of his passes for 67 yards to set up Marion Barber’s 1-yard touchdown run.
Leading up to a Week 15 meeting at the Superdome against the New Orleans Saints in 2009, the Cowboys were coming off back-to-back losses and their playoff chances were in peril. The Saints were 13-0. On the Cowboys’ fifth play, Romo threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin, finished with 312 yards passing and won 24-17. The Cowboys ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak and won the NFC East. Romo had his first playoff win in the wild-card round three weeks later.
There won’t be any speeches this week like the one Romo gave the night before the Cowboys beat the Dolphins. He made his comments to his offensive teammates to remind them how good they are and how good they can be.
The win against the Dolphins injected them with some life.
“I just think we won a football game,” Romo said. “That’s always is why we play the game. As far as going into this week, it’s such a short week you just forget about last week and you have to move right on. You get about four to six hours of enjoyment with it and then you are right on to Carolina. This one is coming fast. We’ll worry about all the other stuff after.”
A win Thursday might seem as unlikely to some as those wins against the Colts and Saints were.
The Panthers have a defense that has playmakers at all three levels. They lead the NFL with 25 takeaways. They are third in the NFL in scoring, averaging 29.9 points per game. Cam Newton threw a career-high five touchdown passes in last week’s win against the Washington Redskins.
At the start of the season, the Cowboys were one of the NFC favorites but then Romo broke his collarbone and they didn’t win a game in 63 days, losing seven straight.
But with Romo, the Cowboys are undefeated (3-0).
“I think he knows where our football team is,” tight end Jason Witten said. “I think for all of us, we have that approach that it’s a one game season. It’s about taking care of the next opponent. I think he has the same approach. When he was out being injured he was working his way towards this, knowing what the comeback was going to be and what he has to do. For all of us we have to get prepared on a short week. You have to be able to get the soreness out from Sunday and get ready to go for Thursday.”