KANSAS CITY – It's an understatement to say the start of Morris Claiborne's 2013 season has been rocky.
As if the knee injury that forced him out of the preseason wasn't frustrating enough, Claiborne dislocated his shoulder in the season opener. One week later, Claiborne was on and off the field as he battled the injury.
That all took a backseat Sunday, to the flag – the defensive pass interference call on a short slant that turned a potential 4th and 10 into a fresh set of downs for Kansas City, who promptly ground the clock down for a narrow victory.
"I thought it was a clean play, but that wasn't the call so I can't argue," Claiborne said.
Some questioned Claiborne's decision to go for a breakup, rather than a tackle that could have possibly stopped Chiefs receiver Donnie Avery short of the crucial first down. Claiborne said he didn't consider that an option.
"When you're playing corner, you're pressed up – you're not thinking about letting nobody catch the ball," he said. "If I'm pressed, I'm not thinking about giving up the catch. I'm going to make a play."
To Claiborne's credit, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin agreed with that assessment after the game. But the flag flew nonetheless.
It was a nightmare finish for the second-year corner after a slow start. There were questions all week of how effective Claiborne would be after dislocating the shoulder against the Giants. The Cowboys seemed to answer that question straight away, as Orlando Scandrick started the game opposite Brandon Carr, allowing Claiborne to rotate into the game. [embedded_ad]
"They were just looking out for me – looking out for my best interest," he said. "It wasn't one of those things where I wasn't going to play. I was going to play regardless."
It remains to be seen how effective Claiborne can be if he has to play hurt. Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles couldn't have made the issue any easier, as he bulldozed the gimpy Claiborne on a short reception in the third quarter.
As he sat hunched on a stool, facing into the depths of his locker, Claiborne was asked if he thought he'd have to play hobbled the whole season. The answer sounded more pained than any injury.
"I don't know. It's one of those things – I think it's just day-by-day," he said. "I don't really know how God is going to shape this season out for me, but I'm going to continue working hard, continue doing the things I've been doing. I plan on being on the field, healthy or not."
Here are some more notes from Sunday's 17-16 loss to Kansas City:
- Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he didn't believe Tony Romo's ribs affected his performance in the second half of the loss. It seemed Romo had issues with accuracy during the Cowboys' second-to-last drive, perhaps as an effect of the injury suffered against New York. "It looked to me like he was torqueing good, throwing good. So it doesn't seem to me that that was an issue," Jones said.
- Jones tipped his cap to new Chiefs coach Andy Reid, the longtime coach of division rival Philadelphia, following the loss. "We knew that they're a good team, but what we really knew is how good Andy Reid is against the Cowboys."
- Jones said the Cowboys had four or five special plays designed for Lance Dunbar, but "obviously, when you turn the ball over that can be a big play in the game."
- DeMarcus Ware's two sacks on Sunday give him 113 career sacks, which pushes him past Julius Peppers for third all-time among active players. John Abraham (122.5) and Jared Allen (118) have more. It was his 27th multi-sack game.
- Ware's 113th sack pushes him past Randy White for second all-time in Cowboys history. He trails only Harvey Martin (114). Odds are the record will belong to Ware in the near future.
- In his first action of the season, Anthony Spencer posted two tackles in a rotational role for the defensive line.
- Jason Witten crossed some Hall of Fame-level milestones for the second straight weekend this season. His three catches against the Chiefs pushed his career reception total to 817, past Shannon Sharpe (815) for second all-time among all tight ends. His performance also extended his streak of games with at least one reception to 73 games. Witten hasn't been held without a catch since November of 2008.
- Dan Bailey's 53-yard field goal to cut the Cowboys' deficit to 17-16 in the fourth quarter was the longest of his career. His three field goals on the afternoon give him 67 all-time, which bumps him into fifth in franchise history.