- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- Tony Romo has painful but proud memories from the last time the Dallas Cowboys faced the San Francisco 49ers, when he starred in a spectacular comeback after returning to the game with a broken rib and punctured lung.
What kind of impression did Romo make on former NFL quarterback and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh that afternoon in September 2011?
“A deep bruise,” Harbaugh deadpanned during a conference call with Dallas media this week. “It took a while for that one to go away. But great respect for Tony Romo and what he’s accomplished through the body of his work through his career. What he did on that day, we all saw him leave the game and come back and engineer a fourth-quarter comeback. It was most impressive.
It’s a performance that Romo fans might remember as the signature game of his career, carrying the Cowboys to a comeback win while playing through serious pain. Romo torched a terrific San Francisco defense despite starting receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant both being sidelined by injuries.
Romo completed 12 of 15 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter and overtime. His final completion was a 77-yard connection with reality-show-winning receiver Jesse Holley to set up the game-winning chip-shot field goal.
“I knew he was great,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always thought that of Tony Romo. But he climbed another rung on my ladder of esteem, and I didn’t think he had anymore rungs to go after what I’d seen. But he definitely gained another one that day.”