Commentary

Romo efficient, explosive vs. Saints

Updated: December 21, 2009, 2:45 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

NEW ORLEANS -- Do you think a convincing win over the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints will put to rest talk of the Dallas Cowboys' December demons?

"No," Tony Romo replied with a grin. "I think that will continue."

The surefire way to shut up Romo's December doubters: Just keep performing as he did Saturday night in the Superdome while making sure the Cowboys win.

The impressive statistics -- 22-of-34 for 312 yards and a touchdown -- only tell part of the story. Romo was a poised playmaker, hushing the hostile crowd with Houdini acts to escape pass-rushers and extend drives on several occasions. He didn't commit a turnover -- and still hasn't this month -- despite some pass-protection problems.

Tony Romo
Scott Halleran/Getty ImagesTony Romo has thrown for 953 yards without throwing an interception in three games this month.

"I thought that's the best I've seen him play really ever," tight end Jason Witten said.

That's debatable. After all, Romo was pretty awesome in the Cowboys' November 2007 win over the Green Bay Packers, throwing for 309 yards and four touchdowns with the NFC's top seed on the line.

But there's no question that Romo was the best quarterback on the field, quite a feat with Drew Brees standing on the opposite sideline, which is where the NFL's top-ranked offense watched while Romo and Co. held the ball for more than 36 minutes.

With Romo at the controls, the Cowboys managed to be efficient and explosive. The tone was set with a five-play, 68-yard touchdown drive on the opening possession, which was capped by a 49-yard strike to Miles Austin down the left sideline. That was one of six completions Romo had that gained more than 20 yards.

"I have all the respect in the world for Drew Brees, but I'll tell you one thing, our No. 9 was a difference-maker out there," Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said. "When you've got a guy like that underneath [center] and you've got a defense that can hold them to three points in the first half, you've got a chance to get some things done this year.

"New Orleans was competing for an undefeated season. We were playing really for a chance to make a name for this team. I think it says boatloads about why I'm happy Tony Romo is our quarterback."

Romo's spectacular performance against the Saints can't be considered a complete surprise. After all, the guy has had a heck of a month, at least from the perspective of his fantasy owners.

He was great against the New York Giants, throwing for a career-high 392 yards and three touchdowns. He was pretty good against the San Diego Chargers, throwing for 249 yards and two touchdowns. But Romo didn't lead the Cowboys to victories in either of those games.

Romo understands that quarterbacks are ultimately judged by winning or losing big games. Romo readily accepts that responsibility, yet he refused to acknowledge that December might represent a mental block for his team.

"He never really got caught up in, 'Here we go again in December,'" Witten said. "You've got to take off your hat to him. Obviously, the coach and the quarterback are the two that get pointed at first, and he really doesn't let that bother him. It's one thing to say that, but it really doesn't faze him."

If anything, Romo finds it funny to prove his December doubters wrong.

Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

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