Quarterback Brandon Weeden lost his 10th game in a row as a starting quarterback. He is 0-3 since joining the Cowboys, counting the Arizona game last year.
But there were signs of progress in the 26-20 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints, particularly the 91-yard touchdown drive that tied the game with 1:51 left regulation on Weeden’s 17-yard strike to Terrance Williams.
“Yeah, Brandon did a lot of good things in the game, delivered the ball a number of different times on a number of different kinds of throws throughout the game,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He kept drives alive. The last drive was probably his best drive of the game and the best thing he did there was he just kind of hung in there. He kept battling, made some big plays down the field, got us in the scoring zone and then made the big throw to Terrance in the end after they had kind of won on a few of those types of throws earlier in the drive. He maintained his confidence and maintained his poise and composure and again made some big throws for us to go ahead and have that drive to tie the game.”
Garrett is hoping Weeden can build on the performance. He completed 16 of 26 passes for 246 yards and had no turnovers for a 105.6 passer rating.
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“Oh, I think we have more and more confidence in him, because I think he’s demonstrating it and he’s getting a chance to demonstrate it,” Garrett said. “He’s one of those guys who works very hard at it and I think you see him grow and develop as a player. And so much of that at that position is confidence and that confidence comes from experience and being in those situations and having success in those situations. I thought his command at the end of the ball game was really really good and I think that translated into making some big throws and obviously that helped our football team.”
Of course, Garrett’s impression is far different than that of owner Jerry Jones, who seemingly took a shot a Weeden while complimenting Saints quarterback Drew Brees after the game.
“I thought he did real good,” Jones said. “He did good all night long. He took his initial look and threw it. Did all night long there. He does some real good things, though it’s not quite apples and oranges when the guy on the other side of the deal is Brees and you’re dealing with a guy who is as limited as Weeden. We got in it even running out of time or short-handed in two-minue or what have you then these quarterbacks like Brees make a difference.”
But Garrett believes Weeden and the Cowboys will be better because of the signs of progress they saw against the Saints with the final driving standing out. The touchdown came on fourth down, with the game hanging in the balance, and Weeden made a great throw to Williams to keep the Cowboys’ hopes alive if only temporarily.
“I thought his command on that last drive was really good,” Garrett said. “He made some good decisions. He made some big-time throws and then hung in there down there close. Those are pressure-packed throws when you’re down a touchdown and it’s fourth-and-seven, to come up and make a big throw like that for the touchdown was big. That’s big for his confidence. It’s big for the confidence of the offensive unit and the entire football team. Those are big moments. Those are important moments. I think the more you’re in those situations, the better able you are to handle them.”