SEATTLE -Over the course of Jason Witten's career there are certain things Cowboy fans have come to expect from him.
They expect him to play. Even when he lacerated his spleen and a Week 1 comeback seemed medically impossible, he trotted out on the field, sure enough proving his toughness in the season opener by suiting up and facing the Giants.
Cowboy fans also expect Witten to catch the ball. He has proven himself one of the most reliable targets in Cowboys history. However, in the 27-7 loss to Seattle Sunday, Witten did something Cowboy fans are certainly not familiar with seeing from him: he dropped the ball numerous times. In a very un-Witten-like performance, the tight end was targeted 10 times, but only caught four of the passes.
After the game Witten explained that the Cowboys performance on Sunday did not match what the team expects from themselves and explained that he was especially disappointed with his own performance.
"We didn't play Cowboys football," Witten said. "We just didn't execute well enough, myself included. I had opportunities to make catches, make runs, make good plays and I just didn't do it."
The look on Witten's face after dropping a number of seemingly catchable passes seemed to reflect the general surprise of everyone watching. Witten looked shocked, as if he was having trouble believing his own struggles in the game.
Sunday's performance will lead many to questions of rust for Witten following his recovery from the spleen injury. Against the Giants, little was expected of him in terms of actual contributions to the game, and his presence alone seemed to inspire the entire team.
But in the last 10 days Witten had said he felt the injury was totally behind him. Witten completely dismissed the thought that the injury was the cause of his struggle to make an impact in the game. When asked if his spleen had limited his range of motion he quickly shot down the suggestion.
"No, that would be an excuse," Witten said. "I just didn't catch the ball. The opportunities were there."
Witten also made sure to avoid putting any blame on Tony Romo, who had a very average game himself posting a quarterback rating of 74.1.
"They were good throws," Witten said. "I just didn't make the plays."