RENTON – It has been two years since the Seattle Seahawks faced Dallas quarterback Tony Romo in a contest when Romo’s mishandling of a snap on a late field-goal attempt led to a Seattle NFC wild-card playoff victory.
Romo, then a free-agent pickup by Dallas and starting in his first season in the NFL, was still a wide-eyed youngster for the Cowboys.
“We played him before anybody else really knew anything about him,” Seattle linebacker Julian Peterson said of Romo. “So we got a really a good feel for him.
“It’s nothing like a J.T. O’Sullivan (of San Francisco), where we had absolutely no idea. So we know what he’s capable of. We know that he’s a good quarterback. We also know if you get him flustered, he’ll start turning the ball over himself. So we’ve got to make sure we get him in that state of mind.”
Romo has developed into a Pro Bowl-caliber player leading one of the most prolific offenses.
You don’t have to look any farther to find evidence of Romo’s ability than his numbers in the Cowboys’ 35-22 win over San Francisco on Sunday.
In his second game back after missing a month with a dislocated pinkie finger on his throwing hand, Romo had a breakout performance, finishing 23 of 39 passing for 341 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Romo played with a splint on his injured finger the past two weeks, but hopes to take it off for Thursday’s game against the Seahawks in Dallas. He says he can make all of the throws and grip the ball stronger now that his finger has healed.
“He’s a little unorthodox in the types of throws he’ll try and things he’ll try,” Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said of Romo. “So, a play is never over. You think it’s dead and all of a sudden he does something, throws it underhand or pushes it somewhere.”
Most of Romo’s completions against the 49ers were to Terrell Owens, who had struggled with his quarterback out. Owens finished with seven catches for 213 yards and a touchdown.
Of course, after the game Owens said he was not satisfied after totaling the second-highest yardage total in a game for his career, saying he’d liked to see the ball more consistently. Romo had this to say about getting Owens more involved.
“I think it’s just what coverages they play,” Romo said Tuesday in a conference call with Seattle area media. “I mean, more than anything else, if you really want to take a guy out of the game, I think you can for the most part. You just have to dedicate a few people to him at all times, and that opens up a lot of other people, especially now that we’ve got Roy Williams.”
Seattle’s defensive players believe the key to containing Romo, Owens and the rest of the Cowboys’ explosive offense is playing Owens physical and pressuring Romo.
“You never want to show them the same look,” Seattle cornerback Marcus Trufant said about Romo and Owens. “They’re a great combo. And if you make things easy for them, it could be a long day because they’re capable of making a lot of big plays.”
“It’s a no brainer,” added Peterson, a former teammate of Owens at San Francisco, talking about playing physical against Owens. “You’ve got to have someone on him. And the biggest thing is not just having someone on him. We’ve got to make sure we have the other receivers in check, too. You don’t want to let them just spread the ball around and make it difficult on us.”
Even though Seattle is 2-9, Romo said they’re not overlooking the Seahawks. At 7-4, the Cowboys need every win they can get to keep pace in the competitive NFC East. And Romo understands Seattle has won four of the past five games against the Cowboys, including the playoff win over Dallas two years ago.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect a little bit, but we got a bigger test than I anticipated going into this week,” Romo said. “This will be a game that definitely tests us. We’re not going to just move the ball up and down the field on these guys. We’re going to have to do some good things to probably put some points on the board this week.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437