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Wednesday, October 23, 2013
QB Watch: Cowboys' Tony Romo

By Todd Archer

A weekly examination of the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback play:

Romo
Rewind: With the Cowboys facing the 31st-ranked pass defense last week in the Philadelphia Eagles, it was assumed Tony Romo would have a field day. Instead, he had his lowest completion percentage and first multi-interception game of the season. One pick, however, came on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half. But when the Cowboys needed to answer the Eagles' only scoring drive, Romo completed seven of eight passes before hitting Terrance Williams for a 9-yard touchdown that made the score 17-3. It wasn't Romo at his most efficient (even with 317 passing yards), but he was able to make plays when it mattered most.

Fast forward: Romo is facing another porous pass defense this week with the Detroit Lions checking in at No. 28. However, Detroit is good on third downs in the red zone and has 13 takeaways, including 10 interceptions. Romo will have to be in good situations. The Cowboys struggled on third downs against the Eagles, converting only half of their tries from five years or less. Romo has a history against Lions coordinator Gunther Cunningham and it wasn't good when these teams last met in 2010. Romo helped stake the Cowboys to a 27-3 lead in the third quarter, but he had two interceptions returned for a touchdown and his third interception led to the Lions' game-winning touchdown. He finished with 331 yards and completed 72.3 percent of his passes but could not avoid the big mistake.

Let's go streaking: With his touchdown pass to Williams last week, Romo has thrown for a score in 20 straight games, trying his team record. It is the second-best current streak in the NFL behind Peyton Manning, who has thrown a touchdown pass in 30 straight. The all-time mark is held by New Orleans' Drew Brees at 54. Romo's streak of 20 straight is tied for 25th all-time.

A new go-to guy: Cole Beasley was inactive the first two games of the year, but he has quickly become one of Romo's favorite targets. In the past four games, he has 17 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown. With teams making sure Dez Bryant and Jason Witten don't beat them, Romo has turned to Beasley and Williams with success.

Prediction: The last time the Cowboys faced a team that could throw it like the Lions, Romo threw for 506 yards and five touchdown passes against the Denver Broncos. The offense has sputtered a little since that game but knowing they will have to keep up with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson should propel Romo to his second straight 300 yard-plus game, and he will push his TD streak to 21 straight games. He will stop his interception streak at three games.