We've heard a lot this week about the Cowboys' failures in December over the last decade, and Tony Romo's shortcomings in the month since he's become the starting quarterback. I heard on the radio this morning that the Cowboys have a 5-9 December record since Romo's been starting. Let's look at those 14 games - I have no agenda here; as I write this, I have no idea what his stats will be in those games. All I want to do is look a little deeper at those games, instead of just assuming he doesn't play well in December because of that record.
12/6/09 LOST at NY Giants. 41-55, 392 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
12/28/08 LOST at Philadelphia. 21-39, 183 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 2 fumbles lost
12/20/08 LOST vs Baltimore. 24-45, 252 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
12/14/08 WON at NY Giants. 20-30, 244 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
12/7/08 LOST at Pittsburgh. 19-36, 210 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT, fumble lost (including that pick-6 late in 4th to lose the game)
12/30/07 LOST at Washington. 7-16, 86 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT (Cowboys had clinched #1 seed. Romo started but didn't play much)
12/22/07 WON at Carolina. 28-42, 257 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
12/16/07 LOST vs Philadelphia. 13-36, 214 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT
12/09/07 WON at Detroit. 35-44, 302 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
12/31/06 LOST vs Detroit. 23-32, 321 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 2 fumbles lost
12/25/06 LOST vs Philadelphia. 14-29, 142 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
12/16/06 WON at Atlanta. 22-29, 278 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
12/10/06 LOST vs New Orleans. 16-33, 249, TD, 2 INT
12/03/06 WON at NY Giants. 20-34, 257 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
Romo's total numbers in 14 December games:
So there you go -- the stats are probably what you'd expect considering his record in December. This past weekend Romo had one of his best games statistically and didn't turn the ball over, but they lost, and that goes on his record. The 2007 game in Washington is another that we can't necessarily put on Romo - they went into the game with the #1 seed locked up and the coaching staff didn't seem to have a very good idea of what they wanted to accomplish with their starters.
But Romo has definitely had his stinkers - the four Philadelphia games he's been particularly bad. The Pittsburgh game last year was awful in the way they lost it at the end on the pick-6.
Another thing to consider, especially this year and in 2008, is the fact that the Cowboys' schedule has been brutal in December. Their remaining four games this year: vs San Diego, at New Orleans, at Washington, vs Philly (combined record 32-16). In 2008, they combined record of the four teams they played in December was 44-19-1. So that is definitely a factor and should not be ignored.
The Cowboys got fat in their first 11 games by beating some bad teams. This stretch in December will determine just how good the 2009 team really is ... or isn't.
303-500 (60.6%), 3387 yards, 17 TD, 19 INT, 5 fumbles lost, 76.3 quarterback rating