IRVING, Texas - On Brandon Weeden's first pass attempt of the game Sunday, he threw a deep ball down the left sideline to Terrance Williams, who was held up on the play, forcing a penalty on the Falcons.
Although the play didn't officially count on the stat sheet, it was the second play from scrimmage. It would also be the last time Weeden threw a deep ball on the day.
On Monday, head coach Jason Garrett tried to explain why the Cowboys didn't and couldn't get the ball down the field against the Falcons, who basically forced the offense to dink and dunk the ball all day. Weeden completed 22 of 26 passes, including 10 to running back Lance Dunbar out of the backfield.
Cole Beasley was the only receiver to catch a pass, as wideouts Terrance Williams, Devin Street and Brice Butler were all held without a reception.
"You have to understand what their style of defense is," Garrett said of the Falcons. "They commit a lot of people to the line of scrimmage and then their corners play high. If you can picture Seattle's corners how they play high and deep. Not many people make a lot of big plays. That's the style of defense. So they help themselves that way by making it difficult for you to run the football and equally make it challenging for you to make big plays in the passing game. There were some opportunities to throw the ball outside to the outside receivers that we didn't take full advantage of. To say we should've thrown it down the field more, I don't know that's accurate."
When asked why the ball simply wasn't thrown more to the outside, again Garrett defended his quarterback.
"We'll evaluate quarterback decision-making but there are opportunities to throw the ball out there," Garrett said. "He made some different decisions, threw the ball inside and was effective. The guy threw four incompletions the whole game so he did a good job helping us move the football but as much as anything else you got behind the chains a little bit in the second half and weren't able to get back on track like we needed to convert those third downs."
[embeddedad0]Third-down efficiency was a problem for the Cowboys all day, converting just one of six attempts. Meanwhile the Falcons were 9-14 on third-down attempts.
But not throwing the ball down the field isn't exactly a new thing with Weeden in the lineup. With Tony Romo under center, and even with Dez Bryant in the lineup for the first part of the season opener with the Giants, the Cowboys didn't take many shots down the field either.
Overall, Garrett seems more than confident in Weeden's ability to turn things around.
"I thought he played pretty well in the game," Garrett said. "Obviously scoring 28 points in the first half, haven't had many of those around here so we did a good job of coming out of the blocks and doing what we needed to do both in the run game and the pass game up until halftime. To me it's a great illustration how quickly the game goes. You have to do what you need to do in all three phases of your team to win the game. Some games you have to score more points. Some games you have to get more stops on defense. Some games you have to make a difference-making play in the kicking game. Hopefully you're doing all of those things each week. That's what you're striving for."