It’s recovery time again for Cowboys’ Romo

Tony Romo is pretty used to this drill by now.

Make a big mistake late to cost the Dallas Cowboys a chance to

win. Say he wishes he had that throw back. Vow to be better the

next time.

Now Romo and the Cowboys have to bounce back again Sunday at

Washington.

If they do, they’ll get to play for the NFC East title in the

finale against Philadelphia at home. If not, they could be

eliminated from the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

”I think it’s good for guys to understand how we have

everything in front of us,” Romo said. ”Like I said before, we

have to play better than we’ve played.”

And avoid another mistake from the quarterback.

The latest recovery routine was triggered by a much-discussed

interception that gave Green Bay new life in a 37-36 win after the

Packers trailed by 23 at halftime. Among the talking points:

-Romo shouldn’t have used the bailout option to pass on the run

play sent in by Bill Callahan and coach Jason Garrett.

-The coaches shouldn’t have even given him a choice because

running the clock was the only thing that mattered.

-Romo shouldn’t have thrown the pass once he turned and saw

linebacker Clay Matthews in his face.

Shouldn’t, shouldn’t, shouldn’t.

”More than anything, I can’t make that decision in that

situation,” Romo said. ”When you look back on one throw right now

all year, you’d want that one back.”

There’s one other part of this routine that’s pretty consistent

for Romo: support from his teammates despite a litany of similarly

painful errors through the years.

”That’s our guy,” receiver Dez Bryant said. ”We all love him.

And things happen, unfortunate things happen. Those things can be

fixed, and that’s by staying together.”

Tight end Jason Witten has been through many more difficult

times than Bryant because he came in with Romo 10 years ago. He

still stands by the winning moments from Romo, and there’s evidence

to back him.

Twice in a span of three games this season, Romo led flawless

final drives to beat Minnesota and the New York Giants. The Cowboys

were trailing the Vikings at home before that winning march, and

the Giants had just pulled even in sub-freezing weather in New

Jersey.

”Tony’s got thick skin,” Witten said. ”You work through it

and you get back at it and surround yourself with guys that you

want to go prepare and play with and support you. That’s what he

does.”

Romo is battling history on a couple of fronts against the

Redskins. Besides the fresh memory of the loss to the Packers, he

is visiting Washington for the first time since his late

interception ended any realistic hopes for a win in a

playoffs-or-bust finale almost exactly a year ago.

Dallas lost that high-stakes game for the second straight year –

and the third time in five seasons. And just like last year, the

Cowboys have an injury-plagued defense that is the worst in

franchise history.

”It’s not difficult to stay positive,” Romo said. ”We’re

still in this thing. For all the stuff that has happened and the

way that we’ve played in different situations, I think that’s a

testament to the guys and how well they’ve performed in different

areas.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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