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Friday, December 14, 2012
Tony Romo eyeing another strong finish

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas -- There was a time when the end of the regular season was not kind to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, and that has helped shape the narrative of his December woes.

The low point might have been a 44-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2008 regular-season finale, one of the worst collapses in franchise history.

But the beginning of the fall can be traced back to Dec. 7, 2008, at Pittsburgh. Romo was intercepted three times that day. DeShea Townsend returned one pick 25 yards for the decisive score in the fourth quarter of a 20-13 loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field.

Romo will see the Steelers for the first time since that game Sunday at Cowboys Stadium with a playoff spot hanging in the balance. But he is not that December quarterback anymore, even if many don't want to recognize the change.

So much of the discussion regarding Romo is about what he hasn't done or can't do that the narrative differs from the actual facts.

Let's look at one: Romo is terrible in the fourth quarter. In reality, Romo has the NFL's highest fourth-quarter passer rating in league history at 102.6.This season his passer rating in the final quarter is 105.1, which is fourth best in the league behind Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.

And maybe it's time to remove the December and January narrative, too. In the 11 December or January games Romo has started and finished since the 2008 season finale at Philadelphia, he has been nothing short of terrific. Excluding last year's December loss to Philadelphia in which he came out after the first series with a bruised hand, Romo has thrown 22 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. He has seven multi-touchdown games and no multi-interception games. He has five 300-yard passing games to go with 299-, 286- and 289-yard efforts.

His lowest passing total in the 11-game run is 249 yards against San Diego. He has completed 69 percent of his passes.

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