The Cowboys managed only 17 points on Sunday because they were so poor on third down, especially short third downs, coach Jason Garrett said.
“If you look at the third-down misses we had in this game, there were a lot of manageable misses,” he said. “There was a third-and-1, there 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.”
The Cowboys were 5-for-16 on third downs against Philadelphia, their second-worst percentage of the season (31.3). They were 3-for-11 (27.3) against Kansas City.
For the season, the Cowboys rank 17th in third-down percentage (37.5), tied with Miami.
“We got ourselves to manageable-enough situations, and you’ve got to make a play on that down,” Garrett said. “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.
Garrett was more pleased with the effectiveness of two drives in the second half, when the Cowboys scored touchdowns to put the game away.
“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,” Garrett said. “I think we had a couple 10-play drives that were scoring opportunities for us in that game. If you can just get it to two scores, then hopefully three scores, that can be the difference in the game, as well as the defense was playing.”
-- Carlos Mendez