• My Scores
  • NHL
  • NFL
  • NBA
  • NCAA BB
  • NCAA FB

Tampa Bay at Dallas

Romo hype grows after five TD passes in Cowboys victory

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

IRVING, Texas -- For a three-play stretch Thursday, Tony Romo looked like a guy making only his fifth start after 3½ years on the bench.

He threw low and inside on what could've been a long touchdown pass to Terry Glenn. On the next snap, he held the ball too long and got sacked. Then he came up short on a deep ball to a wide-open Terrell Owens.

He hardly misfired again.

Romo went on to throw five touchdown passes, tying a Dallas Cowboys record and leading them to an easy 38-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I thought it was Aikman out there," Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said.

Well, there was one difference: Troy Aikman needed overtime for the only five-TD game of his career. And Roger Staubach, the other Hall of Fame quarterback for the Cowboys, never did it.

While it's tough to lump Romo in with those guys at this point in his career, it is no longer "ludicrous" to consider him being Pro Bowl-caliber, as coach Bill Parcells said earlier this week.

The Cowboys are 7-4, with a half-game lead in the NFC East and the second-most wins in the conference behind Chicago (9-1), and Romo is a major reason for it.

He's 4-1 as a starter, with three straight wins. In the previous two, he outplayed Peyton Manning as Dallas handed Indianapolis its first loss and he earned NFC offensive player of the week honors for his performance against Arizona.

This time, Romo was 22-of-29 for 306 yards, with a stretch of 13 straight completions. He went 9-of-10 in the second half, making him 29-of-31 after halftime over his last three games.

"The sky is the limit for the guy," said Terrell Owens, who for all his antics knows a thing or two about quarterbacks, having played with Steve Young in San Francisco and Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia. "He's poised back there in the pocket. He makes things happen on the run. He makes great decisions and he's managing the game. He's exceeding expectations right now."

The Buccaneers (3-8) continue living down to their expectations.

After opening the game with an 80-yard touchdown drive, Tampa Bay crossed midfield only once more to lose for the fourth time in five games. Joey Galloway caught three passes for 71 yards in his first game against the Cowboys since they traded him for Keyshawn Johnson, but two of the catches and 66 of the yards came on that opening series.

Romo responded to the early 7-0 deficit by leading Dallas to five touchdowns in a span of six drives. He was at his best right around halftime -- with a 74-yard drive during a 2-minute drill that made it 21-10 at the break, then opening the third quarter with an 82-yard drive that featured a 45-yard pass to Glenn.

Romo's passer rating was 148.9, an incompletion or two from being perfect. Considering he came in 0.5 behind Manning for No. 1 in that category, Peyton is going to need one heck of a game this weekend or the new league leader is going to be Romo, an undrafted former Division I-AA MVP from Eastern Illinois who spent the first six games this season backing up Drew Bledsoe.

"He's managing the game well. And that's what he's supposed to do," Parcells said. "He's a football guy and he's interested in playing well. But we've got a ways to go here. So put the anointing oil away, OK?"

Tell that to the fans who chanted "Ro-mo! Ro-mo!" during Fox's postgame show. Or to the fans who hung his name in the Ring of Honor during warmups; it was taken down before kickoff.

"It'll be the last time they take it down," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said eagerly in the giddy winning locker room.

Romo caught a glimpse of the sign. After denying he saw it, he broke into a smile and called it "pretty funny."

Then came a big dose of humility from a player known more for his confidence.

"That is an injustice to those guys," he said. "Every single one of them have had unbelievable careers. That's something you aspire to one day. If I could play another 15 years, maybe. ... I got things I still have to work on and get better at. Believe me, I haven't arrived yet, by any means."

Parcells keeps saying he's waiting to see how Romo bounces back from a bad game. He's going to have to wait at least 10 days, when Dallas plays on the road against the New York Giants, the first team that Romo will go against a second time. The first meaningful action of his career was against them -- only a month ago Thursday.

At 7-4, the Cowboys have the same record they had coming out of last year's Thanksgiving game. Led by Bledsoe, they won only two more games and missed the playoffs.

Parcells said things are different this time because Dallas lost on the holiday last year. He's also starting to reveal his optimism for this club.

"I think we're going to be in it here for a little while," Parcells said.

Glenn caught Romo's first two TD passes, of 30 and 2 yards. Marion Barber III caught the next two, giving him an NFC-best 11 touchdowns.

The record-tying fifth went to Owens and he capped it in holiday style by depositing the ball into one of the Salvation Army red kettles being used as a prop for the charity's annual holiday fundraising campaign.

"That was my donation," T.O. said. "I hope it's as much as the fine."

Notes

  • The Cowboys hadn't scored a first-quarter touchdown in seven games until Romo's first TD.
  • Tampa Bay quarterback Bruce Gradkowski went 10-of-20 for 120 yards with two interceptions.
  • LB Derrick Brooks set a Tampa Bay record by starting his 184th game. The mark had been held by OT Paul Gruber.
  • This was the ninth time a Cowboys QB threw five TD passes. The last was by Aikman in OT in the 1999 opener; the last in regulation was Danny White in 1983.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Tony Romo makes the Dallas faithful crazy. He completes 22-of-29 for 306 yards.
 
Tony Romo makes the Dallas faithful crazy. He completes 22-of-29 for 306 yards. (Getty Images)
 

 

Related Video

December 22, 2014
Saints at Buccaneers Preview (3:06)
December 26, 2014
Fantasy Update: Tony Romo
(0:46)
December 23, 2014
Jim Rome: Dez Bryant's contract
(3:09)
December 22, 2014
NFL Monday QB: Tony Romo's impressive performance
(2:57)
Thurs. Nov. 23Final
730010
Dallas
(7-4)
71414338
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDMike Alstott, 1 Yd run (Matt Bryant kick is good), 9:18. Drive: 10 plays, 80 yards in 5:42.
TDTerry Glenn, 30 Yd pass from Tony Romo ( kick is good), 1:09. Drive: 8 plays, 62 yards in 3:51.
2ND QUARTER
TDTerry Glenn, 2 Yd pass from Tony Romo ( kick is good), 11:33. Drive: 10 plays, 48 yards in 4:15.
FGMatt Bryant 46 Yd, 6:38. Drive: 10 plays, 43 yards in 4:55.
TDMarion Barber, 1 Yd pass from Tony Romo ( kick is good), 0:30. Drive: 4 plays, 74 yards in 1:28.
3RD QUARTER
TDMarion Barber, 2 Yd pass from Tony Romo ( kick is good), 9:55. Drive: 8 plays, 82 yards in 5:05.
TDTerrell Owens, 7 Yd pass from Tony Romo ( kick is good), 6:30. Drive: 5 plays, 35 yards in 2:31.
4TH QUARTER
FG 22 Yd, 10:00. Drive: 13 plays, 70 yards in 8:36.
Players of the Game
Dallas

T. Romo
Att 29
Comp 22
Yds 306
TD 5

J. Galloway
Rec 3
Yds 71
Avg 23.7
TD 0
 
Tampa Bay
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
B. Gradkowski10/2012002
RushingATTYDSTDLG
C. Williams1778022
B. Gradkowski41708
M. Alstott2413
M. Pittman1202
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
J. Galloway371053
M. Clayton219010
M. Pittman219013
M. Alstott1404
E. Graham1404
I. Hilliard1303
Dallas
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
T. Romo22/2930650
RushingATTYDSTDLG
M. Barber1683024
J. Jones1140014
L. Polite71804
T. Romo3-40-1
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
T. Owens8107126
T. Glenn489245
P. Crayton468033
J. Witten330013
A. Fasano1909
M. Barber2322
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
GB 24 Final
SEA 34
OAK 14 Final
SD 21
CAR 13 Final
WAS 17
NYG 21 Final
TEN 24
SF 17 Final
STL 20
HOU 11 Final
NYJ 26
CHI 13 Final
NE 17
ARI 26 Final
MIN 31
PHI 21 Final
IND 45
CIN 30 Final
CLE 0
JAC 24 Final
BUF 27
PIT 0 Final
BAL 27
NO 31 Final
ATL 13
DEN 10 Final
KC 19
MIA 27 Final
DET 10