Romo Sets Tone for Cowboys Victory
ARLINGTON, Texas - Tony Romo shook off nagging pain in his neck along with three would-be Atlanta Falcons tacklers to create a kick-start play out of what seemed to be nothing.
Romo pulled his sputtering Dallas Cowboys out of an early season funk with a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Patrick Crayton on the last play of Sunday's first half.
From there, Romo, his team and a Cowboys Stadium crowd of 81,521 came alive. Romo finished with three touchdown passes and Crayton returned a fourth-quarter punt 73 yards in a 37-21 rout of the Falcons at Cowboys Stadium.
It all started with Romo buying time with his legs on that second-and-5 from the Falcons 5-yard line with 15 seconds left in the first half.
Take a sack there and the Cowboys likely have to rush a field goal attempt instead of taking a 17-7 lead into intermission.
Romo ducked under defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, then eluded linebacker Mike Peterson and defensive end John Abraham before delivering a strike to a wide-open Crayton.
"You just have to trust your instincts and rely on them every once in a while to help you do some things," Romo said. "You have to be able to do something out of the ordinary every once in a while."
Romo hit 21 of 29 passes for 311 yards, finding emerging receiver Miles Austin for two scores. It marked Romo's 19th, 300-yard passing game - six more than former Cowboys star Troy Aikman.
A 22nd-ranked defense came alive with four sacks of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who had been sacked just twice in 156 previous dropbacks during Atlanta's 4-1 start.
Romo walked to the bench early in the second quarter wincing after safety Thomas DeCoud drilled him in his right shoulder at the end of a 17-yard scramble. For a few minutes, he slumped on the bench with the team doctor tending to him as backup Jon Kitna started to warm up.
But Romo returned for the next series and continued to build on his connection with Austin, who caught a team-high six passes for 171 yards with touchdowns of 59 and 22 yards.
"We believe in ourselves and we think this team has a chance to continue to grow and get better as the year goes on," Romo said.