Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 11/24/11
ARLINGTON, Texas The best and worst of quarterback Tony Romo was on display on Thanksgiving Day at Cowboys Stadium. He ended his streak of 128 attempts without an interception in spectacular fashion in the first half, throwing picks in the first three possessions. But in typical Romo form, he overcame those mistakes to lead the Cowboys to a last-second, 20-19, win over the Miami Dolphins. At least until late Monday evening, the Cowboys (7-4) have sole possession of first place in the NFC East. They can now enjoy a quasi-bye week since it will be 10 days until they travel to Arizona to face an awful Cardinals team. The Cowboys seemed like a hard-luck team earlier in the season, but they have been extremely fortunate in narrow wins over the Redskins and Dolphins. On the Cowboys' first possession Thursday, Romo tried to hit tight end Martellus Bennett on a fly pattern, but he didn't put enough on the ball and it was intercepted by Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis. The Dolphins didn't capitalize on that opportunity, but a few minutes later, cornerback Sean Smith picked off a Romo pass intended for Laurent Robinson at the Cowboys' 26-yard line. The Dolphins only came away with a field goal, which became a theme for the rest of the game. Miami quarterback Matt Moore, who spent a training camp with the Cowboys as a rookie free agent in 2007, torched Dallas' cornerbacks for much of the afternoon. Alan Ball may be thinking about another position change after being picked on repeatedly. And veteran cornerback Terence Newman allowed the Dolphins' only touchdown despite having wide receiver Brandon Marshall in a choke-hold way before the ball arrived. Rob Ryan's defense is showing some disturbing signs, but forcing the Dolphins to settle for short field goals did play a large role in the win. The Cowboys had a 10-6 lead at halftime only because Moore couldn't handle a snap from rookie center Mike Pouncey late in the second quarter. DeMarcus Ware recovered the fumble at the Dolphins' 5-yard line and Romo quickly hit Robinson for a touchdown pass. But trailing the Dolphins 16-10 late in the third quarter, Romo started making the same type plays that allowed the Cowboys to beat the Redskins in overtime last Sunday. He completed a 9-yard pass to Witten under heavy pressure and then he somehow squeezed a throw to DeMarco Murray for a 17-yard gain while he was being tackled. Romo finished the drive by rolling left and firing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Robinson, who has become his most reliable target in the absence of Miles Austin. The Dolphins took a 19-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but Romo got the ball back at his own 36-yard line with 2:59 left and two timeouts. On second-and-10, Dolphins nickel cornerback Will Allen had a direct line to Romo, but he spun away and delivered the ball to tight end Jason Witten for a 23-yard gain. "It was some sort of a shimmy," said Romo. "Sometimes you go on what your instincts are telling you." The Dolphins never seemed to recover from that play as Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray bulled his way toward setting up the game-winning field goal. For the second consecutive game, Witten didn't have a catch in the first half. He said that Miami used an inside linebacker to cover him every time he tried to run an inside route and a cornerback followed him on outside routes. Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano was in charge of tight ends for the Cowboys when Witten was drafted in 2003, and he was determined to keep him in check. "On that catch, I was running a drag route," Witten told FOXSportSouthwest.com. "I saw Tony rolling to the left and I knew I needed to stay in his vision the whole time." Romo was 22-of-34 for 226 yards, two touchdowns and the two interceptions. Coach Jason Garrett will continue to live with Romo's mistakes because he realizes his quarterback has so many rare qualities. He seems to be at his best when everything's crashing around him. And unlike some quarterbacks, Romo doesn't seem to lose his nerve after a couple of interceptions. "You have to play through success, you have to play through adversity," said Garrett. "You have to pick that bat up and swing it the next time. That was a good example of that by Tony today." In an entertaining session following the game, Romo tried to explain how he's able to extend plays and make throws while getting hit. He said that he grew up making throws against air from "bad positions." Romo said he would take 10 footballs out to an empty practice field his rookie season (2003) and deliver throws at awkward angles. Dolphins defensive end Randy Starks had Romo in his grasp at least once and outside linebacker Cameron Wake thought he had a sack when Romo squeezed the ball to Murray late in the third quarter. It was an all-too-familiar sight for Sparano, who called plays for the Cowboys when Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe as the starter in 2006. "I mean that's what he does," said Sparano. "It's not the first time. I've seen Tony do that, and I've been part of him doing that. I mean, the guy made a couple of really courageous plays. He hung in there." Romo remains one of the most maddening players in the league, but he also represents the Cowboys' best hope of making the playoffs.
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