Romo Helps the Dallas Cowboys Roar Back to Beat the St. Louis Rams

Tony Romo is Dallas’ “Comeback King”…

The 34-year-old Mexican American NFL quarterback stayed cool, calm and collected in the late stretch to help lead his Dallas Cowboys to a massive come-from-behind win against the St. Louis Rams.

Tony Romo

“No one ever comes that wide open,” Romo said of his 68-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant that was among the big plays that helped the Cowboys erase a 21-0 deficit and stun the Rams 34-31 on Sunday. “You want to make sure you don’t do anything stupid.”

Romo’s impressive performance down the stretch help the team match its biggest comeback in franchise history, and helped give him his own franchise best record.

The Cowboys (2-1) had plenty of time to chip away, and no one panicked about the cushion they’d spotted the Rams.

“We never blinked, I can honestly say that,” Bryant said.

Romo has 21 comeback victories in the fourth quarter or overtime, a franchise best.

“Tony went out there and did what Tony do,” Bryant said. “He was poised and he knew what he wanted to do.”

Terrance Williams scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter, and Bruce Carter returned an interception 25 yards for a TD on the next snap, capping the rally.

DeMarco Murray‘s 1-yard run late in the first half began the comeback.

Dallas also rallied from a 21-point deficit in 1984 against the New Orleans Saints and 1999 against the Washington Redskins, although both of those wins came in overtime.

It tied the second-largest lead blown by the Rams (1-2), who slowed Murray but got burned everywhere else. Among other breakdowns was a flubbed snap by center Scott Wells, who didn’t realize Austin Davis was in the shotgun, resulting in a lost fumble, and a. They settled for a field goal.

“I feel like I let this game slip through my hands and it’s my fault,” said Jared Cook, who dropped a touchdown pass that could have put the Rams up 28-21

Romo was 4 for 5 for 40 yards and scrambled 16 yards on third-and-13 on the go-ahead drive. His second-half play overshadowed a third costly INT of the year.

“We were able to execute under pressure or whatever you want to say, blah, blah, blah,” Romo said. “We got it done.”

Rivera Still the Carolina Panthers’ Head Coach…

Ron Rivera is still a panther

The 50-year-old half-Puerto Rican/half-Mexican American NFL football coach remains the head coach of the Carolina Panthers after several coaches throughout the National Football League lost their jobs on Monday.

Ron Rivera

Rivera’s future still remains uncertain as he’s scheduled to have a postseason meeting with owner Jerry Richardson in the near future. No word yet on when that meeting will take place.

Richardson remained mum on the second -year coach’s status one day after the Panthers won their fourth straight game to finish 7-9, a one-game improvement over 2011. He declined comment on Rivera’s job security through the public relations staff.

Rivera said Monday at a news conference he hasn’t spoken to Richardson about his future since Sunday’s 44-38 victory over the New Orleans Saints, but indicated that the meeting is upcoming.

“What I was told is Mr. Richardson and I will sit down and discuss things and we’ll go from there,” said Rivera. “I can’t tell you anything more than that. I do look forward to the opportunity to meet with him and discuss this.”

Rivera, the only Latino head coach in the NFL, has two years left on his contract.

Richardson might hire a general manager to get his input before deciding Rivera’s fate.He can now begin interviewing potential GM candidates from teams whose seasons are complete. And he’s hired former New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi to serve as a consultant for the GM search. Potential candidates include Giants college scouting director Marc Ross, Giants senior pro personnel analyst Dave Gettleman, and Panthers interim GM Brandon Beane.

Longtime Panthers GM Marty Hurney was fired after the team’s 1-5 start and the owner put Rivera on notice at that point. Richardson told Rivera at the time the Panthers needed to be “trending upward” the rest of the season. The Panthers went 6-4 the rest of the way.

They finished strong, winning five of their last six games, including a convincing 30-20 victory over the NFC’s top seeded Atlanta Falcons, despite the fact they had five starters and 14 players overall on injured reserve.

“I like where we are and I like the things that we have done,” said Rivera. “I believe we are better now than when I first got here. And it’s a job that I would like to have.”

Despite failing to reach the postseason, there were several bright spots for the Panthers. The offense finished in high gear after struggling in the early part of the season, while the defense was strong throughout despite losing four starters.

The Panthers saw the continued development of second-year quarterback Cam Newton, particularly in the final six games when he completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,474 yards with 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Newton also ran for 347 yards and four scores during that span.

Overall, Newton’s numbers were on par with his rookie year, throwing for 3,869 yards passing with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He ran for 741 yards and eight touchdowns, down from his NFL-record of 14 TDs last season when he was voted Offensive Rookie of the Year.

“The biggest thing is he took a lot of the pressure off himself and we tried to help him take that pressure off,” Rivera said. “I think he got to the point where he realized he didn’t have to make every play. And upon that realization you just saw that development as far as understanding things schematically, understanding the opponent he was to attack, and working on his base fundamentals. His footwork improved and his pocket presence improved.”

Rivera said it’s been tough not knowing his future, but added, “it is part of the process we’re going through and we’ll see how this thing unfolds.”

Romo & the Dallas Cowboys Still in the Playoff Hunt Despite Loss

Despite a heartbreaking loss to the New Orleans Saints, Tony Romo still has one last chance to lead the Dallas Cowboys to the playoffs.

Garrett Hartley‘s winning 20-yard field goal in overtime on Sunday propelled the Saints past Cowboys by a final score of 34-31. But the game turned out to be meaningless to America’s Team’s postseason hopes.

Tony Romo

Despite the Cowboys loss in a third straight game decided on the final play, the New York Giants 33-14 loss against the Baltimore Ravens later Sunday left Dallas in essentially the same position. Beat the Washington Redskins in next weekend’s finale and the Cowboys go to the postseason as NFC East champions.

“Even if we would have won today, we would have needed that game next week obviously,” said Dallas’ 32-year-old Mexican American quarterback, who threw for 416 yards and four touchdowns, including a 19-yarder to Miles Austin that tied the score with 15 seconds left in regulation.

For the third time in five seasons, Dallas (8-7) can get to the playoffs by beating a division rival on the final day of the regular season. The Cowboys lost such games to the Giants last New Year’s night and to Philadelphia in 2008.

“I welcome that challenge,” said Romo. “I think we’ve improved in some areas since those two years.”

With just 1:29 remaining in the game, the Cowboys pulled within a touchdown on a 16-yard pass from Romo to Dwayne Harris. Romo led the Cowboys 64 yards in seven plays, capped by the tying toss to Austin, who caught the ball on his knees in the end zone. It was Dallas’ third overtime game in the past five at home.

“There was no panic,” said Saints quarterback Drew Brees. “It was almost like we knew the game would come down to something like this. We just wanted that opportunity and the defense gave it to us.”

Romo also had a pair of 58-yard scoring passes to Dez Bryant, who had a career-high 224 yards receiving. Romo was 26 of 43 and broke his own franchise record for passing yards in a season. He has 4,685.