IRVING, Texas — Tony Romo has the most yards passing in the first 100 starts of any quarterback in the Super Bowl era – ahead of Kurt Warner, Dan Marino and Peyton Manning.
The Dallas quarterback takes that impressive stat into Sunday’s game against Detroit, which beat the Cowboys two years ago with a huge rally fueled by the downside of Romo’s resume – critical turnovers.
Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan says he hasn’t “spent a minute” looking at video from that 34-30 loss to the Lions.
Callahan showed his faith last week by riding Romo’s arm to a touchdown in a 17-3 win over Philadelphia right after an interception that was similar to the 2011 Detroit game.
“Trust is a really, really important word – in any organization, first and foremost,” Garrett said.
The Cowboys trust in Romo – good or bad.
He’s been mostly good in his seventh full season as the starter. He joined Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman as Dallas quarterbacks with at least 100 career starts, throwing for 317 yards against the Eagles to put him at 27,485 as a starter.
That’s 44 more yards than Warner and 211 better than Marino. It’s nearly 10,000 yards better than Staubach or Aikman, but the number that matters most in that comparison is Super Bowl titles.
Staubach has two, Aikman three.
There will never be a shortage of people to remind Romo how many he has, until he wins one anyway.
“You know that, and that’s what it’s going to come down to,” said Romo, the franchise leader in touchdown passes and second to Aikman in other major categories. “That’s what your goals are.”
The Cowboys were on the verge of a 3-1 start in 2011, leading the Lions 27-3 in the third quarter when Romo threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns and a third that set up Detroit’s winning score.
Dallas went on to the first of consecutive 8-8 seasons, both ending with losses in playoffs-or-bust finales.
“There were a lot of good things in that game,” Garrett said. “Obviously we didn’t finish that game the way we wanted to throughout our football team. We turned the ball over on offense and hopefully that’s something we learned from.”
Maybe so, and maybe Romo showed it last week against Philadelphia.
The Eagles were down 10-0 late in the third quarter. Romo threw an interception that was the fault of running back Phillip Tanner for a wrong route.
Philadelphia wound up with a field goal.
Callahan’s response? Eight passes by Romo on a 10-play drive that ended with a scoring toss to Terrance Williams.
“The mental side of the game is really intriguing for me because he has such a great feel for coverage and he sees things and he knows what defenses are doing,” Callahan said. “He’s been really astute in that respect.”
Romo’s interception against the Eagles was just his fifth of the season, much closer to the fewest in the league than the most, which is where he spent most of last season.
The 33-year-old’s QB rating is over 100 again, and he has the Cowboys in first place in the NFC East and facing the Lions with a chance to for a three-game winning streak – just like two years ago.
“If you’re just a fan of quarterback play, you kind of sit there and get mesmerized watching him play the position,” Eagles Coach Chip Kelly said. “I think he does an unbelievable job of keeping plays alive.”
He kept the Lions alive in 2011, something he’ll try avoid if he finds himself in the same position this time around.