Jason Garrett caught a few winks on the plane ride home after breaking down the game tape from Sunday night’s victory over the New York Giants. He had a cat nap in his office later Monday morning.
Garrett and the Dallas Cowboys coaches have too much to do, and too little time, with a first-place showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles looming Thursday.
You snooze, you lose.
“Many of the coaches graded the game from [Sunday] on the plane, and got all that cleaned up and behind us,” Garrett said Monday night. “ ... We are on to Philadelphia. When the players came in, we did a quick recap of the Giants game. We didn’t spend a long time on it, and we got right into our preparation.
“We really emphasized to them that it’s Wednesday morning [in terms of their normal preparation]. Once we cleaned up the game, it’s Wednesday morning in your life. Start thinking that way. ... Tomorrow, we are going to wake up and it’s Thursday.”
The Cowboys did what they had to do Sunday night, despite some angst. They rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit, beating the Giants 31-28 with a Tony Romo touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with 1:01 remaining.
It was a game they might have lost in previous seasons.
“I thought we did a good job of just staying poised and having patience, not panicking,” tight end Jason Witten said Monday. “I think we’ve done that good all year when we’ve been behind. We don’t just get pass-happy. Take efficient throws, good runs. It’s what’s allowed us to be good.”
The Cowboys needed the win to keep pace with the Eagles, who blasted the Tennessee Titans 43-24 earlier Sunday. The teams are tied with 8-3 records, but they play twice in three weeks in games that will go a long way in determining the division winner.
That’s why the Cowboys spent little time celebrating their come-from-behind victory over the Giants.
“It was good to get that win, and we’re ready to get moving on to Philly — quick,” Witten said. “Two games in a hurry. I think our team understands what kind of game this is.”
The Cowboys had 89 hours from the time the clock hit 00:00 at MetLife Stadium to kickoff of the Eagles game. Their American Airlines charter arrived at DFW Airport at 5:15 a.m., 30 minutes late.
Players practiced — lightly — late Monday afternoon, though Romo was among those not participating.
“I think it’s going to be fine,” defensive lineman Jeremy Mincey said. “We just came off the bye, and we handled business yesterday. A lot of guys made it out unharmed. We’re just working on Philly today, doing a good job of going over what they possibly could run and look forward to a good game.”
Since 1978, the Cowboys have annually hosted a Thanksgiving Day game. They are familiar with the turnaround, though NFL schedule makers did them no favors with a Sunday night road game.
“We certainly have some familiarity with this,” Garrett said. “But everybody is playing Thursday games now. If they weren’t here and they were with another team, they would have done this before. But we feel pretty comfortable with the schedule that we use and getting to the next opponent as quickly as we can and doing it in a way where you are dealing with the content that you need.
“You have to do it in a way where you give guys a chance to recover. And certainly when the game ends near midnight the night before, we are certainly mindful of that. But you have to get your mindset going forward and get ready for the next challenge.”