Best yet to come for Cowboys

Romo's smart play, rookie's development should fuel strong finish

Updated: November 28, 2013, 8:28 AM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

Tony RomoDerick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsGood things likely lie ahead for Tony Romo and the Cowboys.

One can forgive Dallas Cowboys fans if their excitement level for their team's current first-place standing in the NFC East is a bit muted. After all, this is a club that has a history of December swoons.

Last year, the Cowboys controlled their playoff destiny heading into Week 16, then lost their last two games and missed the playoffs. In 2011, Dallas was 7-4 and riding a four-game win streak heading into December, but followed that up with a 1-4 mark that placed it out of the postseason. Add to that Tony Romo's 11-15 career won-loss record in December contests and it makes Cowboys fans brace for a collapse rather than get primed for late-season heroics.

That trepidation is unnecessary this year. After taking a close look at the game tapes and metrics, it is becoming clear this is a season when Dallas backers should feel free to fire up the bandwagon because there are a multitude of reasons pointing toward this club being ready to turn its poor December reputation around.

Romo is actually a very strong late-season quarterback

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Romo has a composite Total QBR of 76.1 in December games since 2009. He has been below the 70 mark in that category in only three of his 13 December games in that time frame, and one of those was the Week 16 game against Philadelphia in 2012 in which Romo was injured and forced out of the contest after only two pass attempts.