On the night he passed Terrell Owens for seventh place on the NFL’s all-time receptions list, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten left AT&T Stadium beating himself up for a lost fumble.
Witten caught his 10th ball of the night midway through the fourth quarter only to have it punched out by Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander. Linebacker Lavonte David recovered at the Dallas 45.
The Cowboys defense, though, bailed out Witten by forcing a three-and-out.
It was only Witten’s fifth lost fumble in 14 seasons. In the past six years combined, Witten had only one lost fumble. That came in the Oct. 11, 2015, game against the Patriots.
“I take a lot of pride in not turning it over and protecting the ball,” Witten said. “It was a mistake by me. Our defense bailed me out there by getting a stop and forcing a punt. I’ll get that corrected. You can’t have that, certainly, at critical times.”
Witten now has 1,086 catches for 11,845 yards and 69 touchdowns for his career. Owens had 1,078 career catches.
“At this point, it’s always special,” Witten said. “The group that’s now on that list, to be able to pass some of those guys, it’s special and a huge honor. He was a former teammate of mine and a really, really good player for a long time. To pass him is certainly an accomplishment because I know what type of player. I saw first hand the impact he made on this game.”