Jason Garrett has left no doubt: He is all in with his team.
The Cowboys’ coach joined the postgame celebration Sunday night and took one on the chin. Or the cheek and forehead to be exact.
Garrett’s face met Jason Witten’s helmet after an over-exuberant Garrett celebrated the tight end’s 5-yard touchdown catch in overtime. Garrett had a small scratch on his forehead and a cut down his right cheek.
“We all kind of were excited after he scored that touchdown,” Garrett said. “We all were running around out there. I gave him a big hug, and I forgot that he had a helmet on, and I didn’t. I caught my face on the side of his helmet.”
Garrett’s trust and confidence in his team has grown with each victory, which is at six consecutive and counting.
In Sunday’s 29-23 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Garrett called for a fake punt in the third quarter and a fourth-down attempt in overtime.
I gave him a big hug, and I forgot that he had a helmet on, and I didn’t. I caught my face on the side of his helmet.
Jason Garrett on his postgame celebration Sunday with Jason Witten
“Those are just situations we’re trying to help our team win the game,” Garrett said. “We try to instill belief in our team in everything that we do each and every day.
“… Any decision you make about faking a punt or trying an onside kick or going for it on fourth-and-1, those are all meant to give our team the best chance to win. We certainly believe in our team; we believe those situations are going to work out for us. They’re well practiced; they’re well thought out before the game. When the circumstances arose, we thought those were the best things to do at those particular times, and they worked out. It’s one thing to make the call. The players are executing those things. They did a really nice job of taking the work in practice to the game and executing those in critical moments in the game.”
Garrett insists he hasn’t changed. His team has.
His belief in his players to execute has allowed Garrett to attack.
The Cowboys are 5-for-5 on fourth-down attempts this season, including two Sunday.
It’s one thing to make the call. The players are executing those things. They did a really nice job of taking the work in practice to the game and executing those in critical moments in the game.
Dallas faced fourth-and-8 from its own 27 when Garrett OK’d a fake punt call by special teams coach Rich Bisaccia. Punter Chris Jones ran 30 yards to the Philadelphia 43, setting up a field goal that drew the Cowboys within a touchdown.
“I thought it was important when we were down 10, down two scores,” Garrett said. “I think we had a three-and-out, and they were getting some momentum. They were moving the ball, and we hadn’t had a lot of success on a couple of drives offensively so we needed somehow, someway, as the game started to wind down to steal a possession. That was a really good opportunity.
“Rich Bisaccia does a great job evaluating the different chances we can take in the kicking game to steal a possession. The circumstances were right, the field position was right and again, we worked on that play a lot during the week, and the players did a really good job of taking it to the game at a critical moment.”
In overtime, the Cowboys faced fourth-and-1 from the Philadelphia 28. A field goal would have handed the Cowboys the lead, but it would not have won the game.
Instead, Garrett called for a quarterback sneak and Dak Prescott got 2 yards. Five plays later, the Cowboys won with Prescott’s touchdown pass to Witten.
“We just felt good about it,” Garrett said. “… And we felt like if we could convert there, it was a good opportunity we were going to go ahead and give ourselves a chance to score a touchdown there.”
It isn’t the first time Garrett’s faith in his team has showed up this season. He tried an onside kick in Washington, and though it failed, the Cowboys won the game. He also went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Washington 30, with Prescott finding Geoff Swaim for 28 yards to set up a first-quarter touchdown.
Garrett also has called for two Elliott rushes on fourth-and-1 attempts, with the running back picking up 5 yards against the Bears to set up a touchdown and 3 yards against the Packers to end the game.
“What you’re trying to do is give your team the best chance to win the ballgame, and typically, being aggressive, staying on the attack, those are the things that can help you win,” Garrett said. “You judge each situation as it comes, and you try to put your team in the best situation to win the ballgame.”
Cowboys at Browns
Noon Sunday, KDFW/4