Patriots say bad game should spur Cowboys' Romo Print
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007 22:18
NFL Headline News

 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -Even Tom Brady plays bad games and one of his worst came against the Dallas Cowboys.
Way back in 2003, with just one Super Bowl championship to his name, Brady had the fourth-worst completion percentage in his 113 NFL starts, including playoffs. But the Patriots still won 12-0 for their sixth straight win in a season-closing streak of 12.
So when Tony Romo threw five interceptions last Monday night but still led his team back to beat Buffalo 25-24 on a last-play field goal, there was no reason to think he wouldn't bounce back.
He gets his chance Sunday in just his 16th regular-season start, his debut against New England in a matchup of 5-0 teams. He's 11-4 in the first 15 starts.
For Brady, it will be NFL start No. 100, and he's 75-24 with three Super Bowl rings and many more appearances on magazine covers. That poor showing against Dallas - he completed only 44.1 percent of his passes - hardly slowed him down.
``I was hoping to get 10 games, but 100? That's good,'' Brady said Wednesday.
Brady has never thrown five interceptions in a game but he's put up four five times. There's no special formula for bouncing back from that.
``You just try to play the best you can,'' he said. ``You never try to go out there and do that. You just have confidence in yourself that you'll go out and play better.''
The Patriots entered that game with a five-game winning streak, just as they will on Sunday. Both teams were playing very well with 7-2 records. It was billed as the ``Tuna Bowl'' when Bill Parcells coached the Cowboys for the first time against New England's Bill Belichick, his former defensive coordinator.
There's plenty of hype around Sunday's game, Brady's first at Texas Stadium and only his second against the Cowboys in seven seasons as a starter. There have been only four previous pro football games matching 5-0 teams.
``It's certainly a big game because it's the next one for us,'' Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel said, ``but, certainly, there's going to be a lot of buildup to this game with both teams being undefeated and, really, them playing as well as they are.''
Romo has a very long way to go to approach Brady's accomplishments, although he did make the Pro Bowl last season, his first as a starter.
But the Patriots, accustomed to building up even weak opponents, say he'll rebound on Sunday, just as he did late against Buffalo.
``He had one bad game and we're not going to get used to that,'' safety Rodney Harrison said. ``Sunday we'll try to make some turnovers, but he's definitely not going to throw that many interceptions.''
The first time Brady faced the Cowboys, Quincy Carter played quarterback for Dallas and he had a poor quarterback rating of 71.4 with 21 interceptions and just 17 touchdowns in 2003.
Vinny Testaverde was the starter in 2004 and Drew Bledsoe took over in 2005. Romo replaced Bledsoe - just as Brady had done with the Patriots when Bledsoe was hurt in the second game of 2001. With Dallas, though, Bledsoe was benched in the third quarter of the sixth game last year.
Romo kept the job. Bledsoe retired.
``I see a very poised young quarterback,'' Harrison said, ``a guy that went out and threw five interceptions, fumbled the ball once, and led his team to a victory.''
Cornerback Ellis Hobbs is excited about returning to the Dallas area where he was a high school football star. Friends and family will be in the stands.
Romo will be under center and that's what concerns Hobbs, especially with the added motivation the quarterback may have of rebounding from a mistake-filled performance.
``It doesn't have to be about quarterbacks. I think that about any type of player'' after a poor game, Hobbs said. ``That's really when you want to come back at your best, to show guys, 'Yeah, I had a bad game but that's not me, that's not the normal me.' So I expect nothing less than the best from Tony this week.''

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