On a night when Cowboys tight end Jason Witten carved out a memorable spot in the franchise record book, the seven-time Pro Bowler was more concerned about a missed opportunity to knock off Atlanta in a 19-13 setback that dimmed the team’s playoff hopes.
Dallas fell to 3-5 on the same night that Witten grabbed seven passes for 51 yards and passed Michael Irvin for the team record in career receptions, with 754. Irvin finished with 750.
“I don’t want to neglect what happened,” said Witten, who stressed the he was “not really” that excited about his record because it came in a losing effort.
“You don’t play (to) get catches. You play to compete for a championship and win ball games,” Witten said. “That’s been my approach since Day One. It will be the one until I leave.”
When he leaves, Witten will do so as the most prolific receiver in club history. Witten, 30, pushed his career totals to 754 catches for 8,447 yards with his performance against the Falcons. It came one week after Witten posted a franchise-record, 18-catch performance in last week’s 29-24 loss to the New York Giant.
Irvin, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, held the Cowboys’ previous mark with 750 career catches. Irvin’s receptions covered 11,904 yards.
Witten said the career mark does have meaning to him.
“To pass Michael and what he stood for and how he worked is special for me,” Witten said.
_ Jimmy Burch