More than 80,000 people inside MetLife Stadium witnessed the best catch of the NFL season so far by the New York Giants (3-8) outrageous rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
But it was the Dallas Cowboys (8-3) who trumped the catch by getting a much needed 31-28 victory to move to one step closer to making the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
The Cowboys needed to go 80 yards for a touchdown with three minutes left, before a calm Tony Romo stepped up and did what’s starting to become a habit.
“It’s a calming feeling,” the Cowboys quarterback said. “You’re almost doing what you decided before the game, if that makes sense. Once you get into the series, then obviously you’re going to call the play and going to come up with the stuff that you feel best doing. But more than that, it’s just three minutes, you have two timeouts. That’s a different situation than one minute and no timeouts. You have to prepare for those situations.”
Romo could have look at highlights of previous winning drives while staging this one. Thanks to the Cowboys dominate offensive line, he would have seven and eight seconds to make back-to-back throws on the game clinching drive.
“Tony’s the best at extending plays,” Bryant said. “He’s the best at it, and one thing that we have to do — tight ends, split ends — we have to stay alive. … We had to show him the target.”
Bryant gave him a target in the back of the end zone, breaking away from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie just enough for Romo to fit the ball in from 13 yards.
“He is a franchise quarterback,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “He has won big games. He’s won them every way you can win them. He’s won them using his surrounding talent well. He’s won them without using his surrounding talent. He’s come from behind. He’s done the whole nine yards. So with that on mind, when you’ve got a quarterback like that, you want to put enough around him so that you can compete for a Super Bowl.”
The Cowboys franchise quarterback threw two of his four touchdown passes to Bryant and was 18 of 26 for 275 yards while never appearing bothered by the back problems that sidelined him for the Cowboys loss to Arizona.
Romo’s latest comeback sets up an NFC East showdown with Philadelphia on Thanksgiving Day for first place.
“Now we have another challenge coming up real quick,” Romo said. “Philly is playing great football so we’re going to have to play better than we did tonight to win that game.”
Kendrick Johnson writes for a daily newspaper and is an independent print journalist and sports television reporter who has covered the NBA Finals, NFL, NCAA football, MLB, NHL, championship boxing and UFC Fights. He’s done numerous one on one interviews with some of the biggest names and personalities in sports. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @kendrickjohnso