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Ellis: Difficult To Judge Special Teams Play

It was a big night for guys like Felix Jones, Gerald Sensabaugh and Barry Church, but the Cowboys' biggest winner on Sunday might actually be kicker David Buehler, and he didn't even play.

While Buehler was out with a hip injury, rookie challenger Dan Bailey had the big opportunity of taking every kick. However, he was only on the field three times all night - for two kickoffs and an extra point. It's going to be tough for Bailey to prove he can make field goals consistently in the NFL if he doesn't get to try them, at least.

Down 20-7 in the fourth quarter, Jason Garrett elected to go for a fourth-down conversion near his own goal line late in the game rather than give Bailey a short attempt.

"It crossed our mind, but we were close down there," Garrett said. "I don't know how much value we would have gotten out of it."

Whereas last week Bailey produced touchbacks on two of his five kickoffs, both his kicks were returned Sunday. It might've been by design that he was asked to kick shorter, allowing for a return. San Diego busted a 36-yarder to start the game, but Church tackled returner Richard Goodman inside the 20-yard line on Bailey's second quarter kickoff, fielded two yards deep.

The Chargers weren't exactly cooperative. Their young leg Rickey Schmitt booted four unreturnable kickoffs. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah only got to return one kickoff, going 26 yards, and one punt, for 11.

Special teams coach Joe DeCamillis got to see his guys in punt coverage plenty.

In addition to Church, special teams tackles were awarded to rookie corner Josh Thomas, fullback Isaiah Greenhouse and tight end John Phillips. Fullback Jason Pociask and running back Phillip Tanner notched assists.

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