Jason Witten called it special.
He became the third tight end in NFL history to join the 10,000-yard receiving club, doing so by hauling in a 34-yard pass from Tony Romo on a seam route in the third quarter. He now stands with Tony Gonzalez (15,127) and Shannon Sharpe (10,060) in the exclusive club.
“It was special,” Witten said. “I have so much respect for this position and all the receivers who have played in this organization. But to join Tony Gonzalez, he’s the best to ever do it, and to get over 10,000 yards is a huge honor. I’m thankful for a lot of good players along the way to make that happen for me. Hopefully there’s a lot more.
“More than anything else, I’m excited about the win.”
Witten entered the game needing only 45 yards to reach the milestone. He finished the game with four catches and 59 receiving yards.
The 10,000-yard receiving club also includes 38 wide outs. Jerry Rice holds the NFL record with 22,895 career yards.
The buzz throughout the Cowboys locker room after the game centered on Tony Romo’s remarkable play in the third quarter.
Romo, somehow, spun away from a charging J.J. Watt and fired a 43-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams. It’s a play that Dez Bryant feels should be on every time he turns on NFL Network.
“They need to show that play. Seriously,” Bryant said. “J.J. Watt is arguably the best defensive player in the league. For Tony to do what Tony did, make a move on him like that and then complete a big bomb down the field to Terrance Williams for a touchdown … it’s amazing.”
Everybody, except Watt, wanted to talk about the play. Left tackle Tyron Smith was more than happy to discuss it, considering Romo bailed him out after Watt beat him off the edge.
“He got a pretty good jump on the ball,” Smith said. “For me, it just wasn’t timed like I wanted it to be. Things got a little crazy, mixed up in there. We did the best we could and Romo made a heck of a play.”
Said Romo: “I don’t think you ever envision J.J. coming from the backside. You just try to make someone miss and I knew we had the down-the-field throws. They were in one-on-one matchups. I just needed to get the ball up.”
Rolando McClain re-injured his groin against the Texans, and his status for next week’s game at Seattle appears to be in question.
McClain was noticeably limping around the locker room after the Cowboys’ win, a game in which he exited late in the fourth quarter and sat out overtime.
McClain initially tweaked his groin in Week 2 at Tennessee, missed Week 3’s game at St. Louis before returning last week against the Saints in a limited role. He played the majority of the defensive snaps Sunday before injuring himself late in the game.
“The doctor said two to four weeks and it obviously hasn’t been that long,” McClain said. “Coming back and playing after one week, you’re going to have your ups and downs. It’s all a part of the game. You need to be out there. We need everybody out there.
“I think everybody is hurting at this point. It’s such a physical season, we play physical teams everywhere, and the way we try to play offense and defense we are physical too. Everybody is a little beat up. That’s just a part of the team. We’ve got a fighting spirit, so we’ve got to keep fighting.”
McClain’s presence could be seen throughout the game. He had six combined tackles and a quarterback hurry, including a couple of notable tackles on Texans running back Arian Foster.
“Whenever he’s with the team, he in himself just demands a level of respect, just demands a certain demeanor as far as how we conduct ourselves and play on defense,” cornerback Brandon Carr said. “It’s contagious. Nobody wants to be the weak link. Everybody wants to step up and do their part.”
Dan Bailey had confidence when he walked out with 3 seconds left, and the game on the line. Fifty-three yards? No problem.
But, after making 30 in a row, Bailey was wide left on what would have tied his career long.
“I just kind of got through it a little bit too much,” Bailey said.
It wasn’t long before he got another chance. His 49-yarder in overtime was his ninth career game-winning kick.
“The guy’s pretty damn good,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.
Bailey now has made one field goal in a row.
“We try to go 1-for-1,” said Bailey, whose last miss before Sunday came against the Chargers in Week 4 last year. “That’s our mentality, but obviously, if you can string a couple of successful ones together, that’s always a good thing, so we’ll see what happens.”