IRVING (AP) — Two games into his first full season as a starting quarterback, Tony Romo has been exposed.
He doesn’t know how to slide.
Romo’s headfirst dive onto the hard baseball infield in Miami on Sunday was curious at best, a needless risk that prompted enough teasing that maybe he’ll play it safe next time. Yet the real lesson of that scramble is that it’s one of the few questionable decisions Romo has made thus far.
His stellar leadership is the main reason the Dallas Cowboys are 2-0 for the first time since 1999. He was the NFC offensive player of the week after producing five touchdowns against the Giants in the opener, then might have been even better in a 37-20 victory over the Dolphins.
Although his numbers were down, Romo kept coming through in the clutch. His best highlights produced touchdowns — spinning from the grasp of Miami’s Joey Porter and ducking beneath another rusher to somehow find tight end Tony Curtis open in the end zone, then throwing a 34-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens on fourth-and-5 with about four minutes left to seal the win.
“I think he played better against Miami than he did against New York,” tight end Jason Witten said. “He made things happen. He created things on his own. When he does that, it allows our offense to be a lot better.”
Coach Wade Phillips called the 2-yard TD pass to Curtis “an amazing throw,” then gave Romo the ultimate compliment — the quarterback to his childhood idol.
“He made some scrambles that you don’t see many people make, Brett Favre-ish,” Phillips said. “He made some really outstanding plays and he’s still looking downfield all the time. That’s what really amazes me about him. A lot of guys, they can get away from people at times but they don’t see what’s going on. He sees receivers.”
Romo is averaging a ridiculously high 10 yards per attempts, with six touchdowns and only one interception. He’s been sacked twice — one of them for 0 yards, Phillips noted — and he’s turned seven runs into 47 yards and a touchdown.
His quarterback rating is 119.3 and he’s guided the Cowboys to 82 points, their highest two-game total since 1971.
Just like everyone expected — right?
Actually, Romo’s strong start answers many of the questions that were still being asked about him despite his Pro Bowl breakout last season. Because Romo went 5-1 then 1-4, some folks wondered if his success was a fluke.
Now September is only halfway done and Romo has won everyone over again, just like he did last November. Once again the buzz is about him carrying on the legacy of Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.
“I don’t ever think about that stuff,” Romo said. “I’m just trying to prove to myself that I’m as good as I can be.”