The previous time Matt Cassel filled in for a franchise quarterback, he was a first-time starter who unexpectedly won 10 games for New England after Tom Brady's season-ending knee injury in the 2008 opener.
Seven years later, he's filling in for Tony Romo, needing a fraction of that victory total to keep defending NFC East champion Dallas (2-3) in contention for the division title until Romo is ready to return from a broken left collarbone.
Cassel is likely to get at least four games, beginning Sunday against the New York Giants (3-3).
"I think it was the start of helping me be equipped for a situation like this," said Cassel, acquired in a trade with Buffalo two days after Romo's injury in Week 2 at Philadelphia. "This is my 11th year. I've been through all different types of situations at this point in my career."