Tony Romo had to learn how to throw with four fingers instead of five, and how to celebrate with his left hand instead of his right.
He was successful on both counts Sunday night, returning just in time to help rescue the Dallas Cowboys' season.
His 25-yard pass to rookie Martellus Bennett with 10½ minutes to play was the go-ahead touchdown in a 14-10 victory over the Washington Redskins, a must-win-come-true for a team that had been reeling without its offensive leader.
Wearing a splint under the heavy bandage on his right hand to protect the broken pinkie that cost him three games, Romo overcame a pair of first-half interceptions to complete 19 of 27 passes for 198 yards.
"You really wouldn't be reading the tea leaves right if you didn't understand that it took a lot of work on his part," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, "to where he could put the pressure with the four (fingers) rather than the pressure with using the little finger."
So when second-round draft pick Bennett showed remarkable concentration to snag the big touchdown catch over safety Chris Horton while on the run at the goal line, Romo bounced up and down like a kid -- and had to remember to do his high-fives and backslaps with his left hand.
The victory gave the Cowboys a season split against their NFC East rival and improved their record to 6-4, tied with the Redskins and a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dallas had gone 2-4 after a 3-0 start and performed miserably on offense during Romo's absence. Fortuitously, last week's bye gave Romo, cornerback Terence Newman and left guard Kyle Kosier a chance to heal.
If anything, Newman's return was more impressive than Romo's.
Back after missing five games with a sports hernia, he had a second-half interception deep in Cowboys territory and shut down Santana Moss, holding the Redskins' best receiver to 29 yards on five catches. Newman batted away a pass to Moss on fourth-and-4 at the Dallas 37 with 6:40 remaining, ending Washington's final drive.
"He was challenged, and I knew he was the type of guy who was going to meet a challenge," Dallas coach Wade Phillips said. "Terence, you could tell in practice he was ready to go."
After Newman's interception, the Cowboys ran out the clock with 11 straight plays involving Marion Barber. He finished with 114 yards on 24 carries and a 2-yard touchdown run that tied it at 7 late in the first half.