The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 13, 2013

Dallas offense playing down to defense’s level


IRVING, Texas —

“It’s been tough, Dez and I both,” Witten said. “It’s been frustrating with the coverage we have seen. The bye comes at a good time to get guys healthy and review and try to get a couple of wrinkles.”

The Cowboys could start with a healthy running game, which they saw briefly against the Saints when DeMarco Murray — playing his second game since returning from a knee injury — had 78 yards rushing three plays into the second quarter before Brees mostly took that option away by building a big lead.

For Callahan and coach Jason Garrett, the explanation for a sputtering offense starts with third-down conversions.

The Cowboys failed on all nine third downs against the Saints, none more critical than when they got 8 yards on first down but couldn’t convert just before halftime. Brees got the ball back with 53 seconds left and led a third straight scoring drive for a 28-10 lead.

“Do the math,” Callahan said. “It’s not difficult when you look at extending three more plays on each drive. Those plays add up. Those are opportunities we have missed and left on the field. We’re really disappointed.”

Callahan said the first two days of the bye week were spent researching third downs.

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