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Stop bashing Romo: Cowboys QB can flat-out play

If you're still bashing Tony Romo, it's time to wake up. Convert from CDs to iTunes and get rid of your satellite dish. Romo bashing is similar to a cockroach. It just won't die. Oh, and by the way, it's wholly unwarranted. Romo is a top 10 quarterback in the NFL, period. End of story.

You really only need to see one play to understand the quality of Romo's game. Against the Redskins on Monday night, with the Cowboys down by one and facing third-and-21,the Dallas quarterback made a streetball play, telling Dez Bryant where to go on the fly, and then hitting him with a perfect strike. It's a play five quarterbacks in the league make. It was Roethlisberger-esque.

Oh, and that's two come-from-behind wins engineered by a player with broken ribs. Thought that might deserve some mention somewhere.

Hard to argue Romo's not elite, especially when looking at those YPA stats to the right. Ben Roethlisberger is known for winning in the playoffs, something Romo has only done once. Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers haven't had much playoff success, yet they sure get off scot-free, especially Ryan. Dude, you can't even criticize any facet of Ryan's game on without getting serious nasty 'grams. It's always, "Well, Ryan's O-line has been bad," or "He's only in his fourth year."

Interesting that Romo never gets those soft pillows to land on. With Dallas' franchise quarterback, the discussion always devolves into "he can't win the big game."

Considering the parity porn going on in the league right now, exactly what is a "big game?" Can anyone tell me? Is this Sunday's Detroit-Dallas matchup a big game? The Lions are 3-0, while the Cowboys are tied for first in the NFC East. Was last Monday night's game a big one? It was a divisional matchup that counts just as much in the standings as a ballgame in December does.

Romo's critics will say, "No, those aren't big games." But should the Cowboys lose to the Lions, all of a sudden, it retroactively becomes a "big game." But only because most fans don't like Romo, so they throw objectivity, flak jackets, and a 41-23 career record out the window.

Why do people dislike this guy so much, and tend to be far more critical of his play than his contemporaries? Maybe it's because he's the quarterback of the most hated team in the league. Maybe it's because he's personable. Maybe it's because, unlike the rest of us, he's never had to creep around on Who knows? But it sure seems personal in nature.

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What is known are the struggles of the Dallas offense. Let me list the problems:

a. The running game is here one minute, gone the next.
b. Left tackle Doug Free is so slow he makes Brian Orakpo look supersonic.
c. You know Jason Garrett's playbook as well as third-year wideout Kevin Ogletree does.
d. Miles Austin is hurt. For awhile.
e. Center Phil Costa snaps to his own beat.
f. Romo spends more time explaining football to his teammates than he does throwing it to them.
g. Yes, that was Laurent Robinson you saw getting 30 snaps out there Monday night.
h. Felix Jones is explosive, but still misses backside lanes and cutback opportunities.
i. Dan Bailey is the fantasy stud on this team.
j. Oh yeah, Romo does have two cracked ribs.

None of this is to say the Dallas quarterback is infallible. Romo made some bad plays at the end of the season-opener in New York. But, at the end of the day, it's hard to find 10 better playmakers at the quarterback position than Romo. For all the criticism of him as a "choke artist" in big games, the past two Dallas wins were the definition of clutch.

Don't believe little ol' me? Maybe you'll listen to my esteemed colleague Michael Lombardi, who is on the record as saying Romo is the only reason Dallas is even in games.

To quote what I heard at Best Buy the other day: Don't hate, congratulate. Romo can play.

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