The Sports Xchange

Cowboys' Romo re-emerges with near perfect performance

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo played in a game Saturday for the first time since undergoing back surgery last December, a 237-days gap since that heroic victory against the Washington Redskins in Game 15.

He sat out the season final for the surgery, a 37-30 preseason loss the Baltimore Ravens at AT&T Stadium that didn't really matter.

How Romo faired since mattered very much as the Cowboys had him all but bubble wrapped for much of training camp.

He participated in half the practices, never practicing three straight days and throwing with a pitch count. He was held out the preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers last week.

But when it came to play against the Ravens, Romo was ready.

He participated in 16 snaps on two series of work, completing four of five passes for 81 yards and a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant.

His only incompletion was a drop by tight end James Hanna.

Most importantly, Romo looked at ease. Despite recovering from back surgery, there were no limitations on his throwing or movement.

"I thought he looked comfortable," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "I thought he looked like himself and moved around in the pocket. He made some good throws that looked like he saw the field well. He felt the pocket really well and looked comfortable moving the team."

Romo threw short. He threw long on the touchdown to Bryant. He avoided the pass rush and moved up in the pocket to deliver the ball.

Romo said the back was fine.

"It felt good. It's just part of going through it," Romo said. "It is continuing to get stronger. When you feel good, you play, and you keep going. You just play and don't think about it. You get hit or you may not, but you don't think about it."

Romo said he didn't think about the back before, during or after the game. While the Cowboys have been smart and cautious with him in camp so far, he said the back is healthy and not a concern.

"When you play, if you're thinking about those things, you're doing your team a disservice," Romo said. "I've got a lot of other things I've got to do to make sure we're running the offense smoothly. That's what needs to be in your brain. If you're not healthy, you shouldn't play."

Romo, who had a passer rating of 158, did have one bad play. He fumbled a handoff with running back DeMarco Murray that was scooped up by defensive end Courtney Upshaw, who returned it 26 yards for a touchdown.

However, his overall play was deemed a huge success by the Cowboys.

"Ballin. I don't know what else to say," Bryant said of Romo's play. "He came out and did what he had to do. He drove us down, got in the end zone and put up seven (points) and got out of the game.

"We all know what Tony can do. He is a huge competitor. He likes to win and he wants to win, so there's no need for him to really be out here in the preseason because we need him in the long run. What he showed tonight was great and we all know what he can do."

Romo will play a little more in next Saturday's third preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. But the Cowboys want him ready for the Sept. 7 regular season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

"Well, I'm convinced that he can do what he does," owner Jerry Jones said. "He'll want to certainly get some snaps in Miami. We'll see some of those guys as we go forward these next two games. We need to. When I say we need to, that's just an opportunity for us to get ready for San Francisco."