Coachspeak insists the game never is as good, or sometimes as bad, as it looked on the field. If that’s so, coach Jason Garrett was asked, then where in the world do the Dallas Cowboys improve on offense?
They gained 423 yards. They scored 35 points, and it wasn’t more only because they ended in victory formation. They punted only twice in nine possessions. They had no turnovers.
“It’s important to recognize the good stuff, and it wouldn’t be genuine of us as a coaching staff to go in and start ripping guys for stuff that didn’t happen in the game,” Garrett said Monday. “You identify the good stuff, and you try to build on it, and you identify the stuff that’s not good, and you try to rectify it.
“Trust me, there’s plenty of stuff we’ve got to get better at. Just watch the tape. It’s not all good 11 guys on every play. Trust me. So you identify that stuff, and you take a non-emotional view of it, and you try to be as objective as you can as a staff and try to be better. Our players do a good job understanding that’s the approach that we take and we strive to get better each and every day.”
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The Cowboys scored five touchdowns with drives of 75, 69, 67, 75 and 64 yards. They went three-and-out once, punting from their own 6, and they had another punt after a drive stalled at the Cleveland 37 late in the game.
The Cowboys also had kneel-downs on two drives — once before the half and once to end the game.
“We know we’re scoring. We know we’re moving the football,” Cowboys guard Zack Martin said Sunday. “I don’t know if we knew exactly the numbers. If we can take care of the football like that and keep executing as a team.”
The Cowboys have executed like that most of the season. They have scored on 35 of 67 possessions, excluding end-of-half and end-of-game kneel-downs.
“I think it’s important to look at your scoring opportunities over the course of the game and what happened with them,” Garrett said. “What were you able to do with each of those to take advantage of them? And what were the things that happened that caused you not to be able to take advantage of it? You look at plays. You look at drives, all of that.”
The Cowboys ate up the final 7 minutes, 48 seconds Sunday, going 37 yards in 13 plays. They reached the Cleveland 16 before getting into victory formation. Dallas held the ball for 13:07 of the 15-minute fourth quarter.
“It was important,” Garrett said. “…When you’re able to do that and make first downs and chew clock up, that’s a really positive thing for your team.”
Cowboys at Steelers
3:25 p.m. Sunday, KDFW/4