Just when he had Dallas in position to finish a rally and beat Cleveland, Romo lost a fumble that left the Cowboys scrambling to survive a wild ending Sunday in the first overtime game at Cowboys Stadium.
"Had it all the way," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, smiling, as he walked into the postgame locker room.
Not quite, but it looked that way late in the fourth quarter when Romo had just put the Cowboys ahead 17-13 with a 28-yard scoring pass to Dez Bryant, who had a career-high 145 yards receiving. Anthony Spencer sacked Browns rookie Brandon Weeden on the next drive, forced a fumble and recovered it at the Cleveland 18 with 5:45 remaining.
Romo gave it right back, though, fumbling two plays later -- his first turnover in three games -- as he was hit by Frostee Rucker while trying to avoid the sixth Cleveland sack. Dallas' offensive line didn't have left tackle Tyron Smith for most of the game because of a high ankle sprain.
"I obviously need to hold onto the ball and not let the guy come from behind and let the ball come out," Romo said. "That could have been a big one."
The Cowboys made one goal-line stand in the final minutes, but the Browns (2-8) got another chance and went ahead 20-17 on Weeden's 17-yard pass to Benjamin Watsonwith 1:07 remaining.
Dallas drove to the Cleveland 9 in the final seconds, keyed by a 35-yard pass interference penalty on Sheldon Brown. The Cowboys tried to throw into the end zone twice, then settled for Bailey's tying kick.
Dallas won for the first time in six games when Romo is sacked at least five times. Despite the constant pressure, he still finished 35 of 50 for 313 yards with the touchdown to Bryant, who had 12 catches for a career-high 145 yards.