x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Returning Romo seals vital victory

Quarterback returns from injury to keep his cool in fourth quarter to set-up touchdown.

Fourth quarter, third-and-seven, trailing the Redskins at Washington, game on the line. Tony Romo, back in action after losing three games to injury, scrambled and improvised a shovel pass to Miles Austin for eight yards. It kept the drive alive.

Next play, the quarterback floated a 25-yard pass to the rookie Martellus Bennett for a touchdown. Dallas went to triumph in the game 14-10 and regain their confidence after the ugly weeks in which their star was sidelined. Romo had been nothing special until the pivotal drive - he had thrown two interceptions - but at least he was not a bumbler like his fill-ins, Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger.

With what should be two easy games coming up - San Francisco and Seattle - the Cowboys at 6-4 are on track to attain the 10-6 record that will almost certainly be required for a National conference play-off spot. Other returns were less happy. Kyle Orton was back in the saddle as Chicago's quarterback despite an ankle injury that had kept him out of last week's loss to Tennessee, but proved powerless to stop Green Bay in a 37-3 slaughter. An Orton fumble was returned for a score to put the Packers ahead 34-3.

A bulging disc in his back cost Matt Hasselbeck more than a month of action. In his return on Sunday, the Seattle quarterback suffered three interceptions in a 26-20 loss to Arizona. The Cardinals' Kurt Warner, who at age 37 is again an MVP contender, threw for 395 yards, with an incredible 337 of them to Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Pittsburgh won 11-10 - the first such score in NFL history - over disappointing San Diego on a last minute 32-yard field goal by Jeff Reed.

In a light Pennsylvania snow, the Steelers' offence comprised three Reed kicks and a safety. The Chargers, now 4-6, trail Denver by two games in the AFC West division and are in serious danger of missing the play-offs. Tennessee are 10-0. The Titans, previously a running outfit, won for a second straight week through the air. The team trailed Jacksonville 14-3 at half-time; then Kerry Collins passed to Justin Gage for two third-quarter scores to sway the day and bring about a 24-14 win.

Next up for the Titans, a visit from Brett Favre's New York Jets. The Detroit Lions scored seven points in the first quarter at Carolina, matching a season high; carried a lead into into the second quarter, also matching a season high; and lost 31-22 to bring their record to 0-10. The New York Giants, with the league's best running game, met the Baltimore Ravens, with the league's best run defence. End result: the Ravens no longer have the league's best run defence.

Brandon Jacobs, a battering ram with eyeballs, and Ahmad Bradshaw combined for 169 yards as the Giants stormed to a 30-10 victory. They lead the National conference with a 9-1 record. rmckenzie@thenational.ae