When the Cowboys lit up the scoreboard and put up more than 500 yards in the 51-48 loss to the Broncos three weeks ago, it was suppossedly the beginning of a season-long onslaught.
That was the basis of owner Jerry Jones' moral victory comment and the reason tight end Jason Witten and receiver Dez Bryant said the team had found its identity: offensive explosiveness.
Well, the Cowboys have been lefting wanting on offense in two games and two wins since against the Redskins and Eagles with 213 and yards and 368 yards respectively. Although the Cowboys scored 31 points against the Redskins, the score was powered by special teams. Quarterback Tony Romo passed for just 170 yards.
Against the Eagles, the Cowboys punted nine times and converted only five of 16 third down chances.
“We have to be more efficient,” coach Jason Garrett said. “In Washington last week, some of the opportunities were limited because the return game was so good for us. We just didn’t have as many plays, as many opportunities. But in (Sunday’s) game, we did have a lot of opportunities, but we didn’t extend those opportunities because we weren’t as good as needed to be on third downs. Third downs are a critical piece in this game. If you look at the third down misses we had in this game, there were a lot of manageable misses. There was a third-and-1, there were a couple third-and-2s, I think we had seven or eight of them that were third-and-7 or less, and we’ve got to be able to cash in on those opportunities and we didn’t do that on a consistent enough basis. We got ourselves to manageable enough situations, and you’ve got to make a play on that down.
“Some of that was because of their pressure package. They brought some people. We didn’t handle that as well as we have in the past. We’ve got to make sure we clean that up. Some of that was just flat out just executing ball plays. I do think we did a good job in this ballgame understanding where we were in the game and making critical drives, coming out in the second half. I think we had a couple 10-play drives that were scoring opportunities for us in that game. If you can just get it two scores, then hopefully three scores, that can be the difference in the game as well as the defense was playing.”