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Cowboys Keep Late Drives Alive With Variety of Targets

Posted Dec 22, 2013


LANDOVER, Md. – It’s not always Dez Bryant and Jason Witten the Cowboys choose to call upon in crucial spots.

The Cowboys converted three third downs and two fourth downs on their two fourth-quarter drives by throwing to Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Miles Austin and DeMarco Murray.

The most notable play of those six conversions was undoubtedly the last, as Murray hauled in a fourth down pass along the right sideline for the game-winning score. That set of downs began at Washington’s 4-yard line, yet the fourth down play occurred all the way back at the 10.

“You’d prefer not to have that happen,” Romo said with a smile.

Romo handed the ball to Murray on first and second down for a combined three yards, as the Cowboys attempted to burn clock and find the end zone. Murray again got the ball on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but he went backward nine yards as he attempted to make something out of nothing.

“I should’ve just eaten it there,” said Murray, who tried to bounce outside to the left and then attempted to reverse field the other way. “I tried to make something happen, and it didn’t go my way.”

The Cowboys were forced to go to the pass, and Murray took full advantage at a chance to redeem his previous play by fighting his way into the end zone.

“You’ve got guys playing like that, that stuff is contagious,” Bryant said. “It just runs through the whole team. I can roll with that anytime of the day, anywhere, it doesn’t matter. I’m behind it. I’m with that.”

That touchdown marked the second fourth-down play the Cowboys converted in the fourth quarter. The previous drive, the Cowboys had to convert three third downs and a fourth down to eventually score three points and give them the opportunity for the final, game-winning drive.

Williams, who came up huge on the final drive with a 51-yard catch on a second-and-10 pass to set Murray up for the win, made arguably an even better catch on a third-and-4 situation on the first drive of the fourth quarter with the Cowboys backed up in their own territory trailing by nine points.

It appeared Romo, who dealt with a sore back, could have run for the first down after dropping back to pass, but he elected to throw on the run to Williams, who sprawled out and tapped his toes down in bounds.

Another third down pass was converted by Austin for eight yards, and shortly after, the Cowboys found themselves in a fourth-down situation which was made even trickier by a false start penalty. The Cowboys, who finished 2-for-2 in fourth down efficiency, converted on the fourth-and-6 pass by finding Beasley down the middle of the field for 20 yards.

“We had a route for (Witten) on the front side that Beasley was working on the back side of,” said head coach Jason Garrett. “Beasley is very quarterback friendly and always has been. Quarterbacks like to throw to him because he can win it man-to-man and also find softness in the zone.”

Though the drive stalled, those three points would be monumentally important in giving the Cowboys a chance late.

“The more times you put yourself in these situations, you have to keep getting better,” Romo said. “You have to have a stronger belief in yourself than the doubt of other people.”

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