Late drive earns Romo redemption in win over Vikings

ARLINGTON, Texas — All it took was one drive for Tony Romo to go from roasted to toasted. Such is the life of the Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

For nearly four quarters, Romo and his teammates looked ragged and unfocused while facing the one-win Vikings.

When Romo threw an interception with 4:29 left, it was clear where the venom would be directed if the Vikings’ three-point lead stood up.

Already, the chirping had begun on Twitter that Romo had choked away another one.

Then Romo got a chance at redemption with 2:44 left.

Thanks to a defensive stop, the Cowboys got the ball back at their 10-yard line. Romo was close to brilliant in covering the 90 yards. He completed 7 of 9 passes to four different receivers on the game-winning drive.

The touchdown came on a seven-yard slant to Dwayne Harris with 35 seconds left. Romo looked away from a double-covered tight end Jason Witten to find Harris. Cowboys 27, Vikings 23.

“I thought Tony was fantastic, really recognizing what they were trying to accomplish,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He got the ball out of his hand and everybody around him made positive plays. He made a heck of a play for the touchdown at the end.”

A week earlier, Romo was just 14-of-30 passing in a stinging loss at Detroit.

On Sunday, Romo was 34-of-51 for 337 yards. His numbers would have looked a lot better if not for several drops, including two by top playmaker Dez Bryant.

But Romo, perhaps the most polarizing Dallas Cowboy since Don Meredith, has had a lot of practice ignoring the negative.

“I never doubted that we would find a way to win this game, and we did that today,” Romo said. “You’ve got to disregard everything and just say, ‘What do we need to do to win the football game? And what gives us the best chance to do that?'”

What gave the Cowboys the best chance against the Vikings, and most games this season, is Romo flinging on nearly every down. Even with the return from injury of top running back DeMarco Murray, the running game produced a mere 36 yards on nine attempts.

Actually, Romo was responsible for eight of those rushing yards thanks to some heady, if not always photogenic, scrambling.

Even with Romo moving the sticks with his arm, he had a lot working against him. Bryant’s first drop, although thrown slightly behind him, forced the Cowboys to settle for a field goal on their first drive.

On another early drive, Romo was a crisp 7-of-7 passing to work the offense down to the Vikings’ 12. Then slot receiver Cole Beasley made a rare drop on first down. Romo was sacked on second and third down and the Cowboys again settled for a field goal.