LONDON – Labeling himself a bit of a perfectionist, Anthony Hitchens didn't sound overly pleased with his performance in the Cowboys' stifling of Jacksonville on Sunday.
"I think I did some good things at times, but I'm more of a guy to focus on my bad stuff," he said. "I've probably got a lot to clean up once I watch the tape."
Those are modest comments coming from the Cowboys' leading tackler against the Jaguars – a rookie who started at middle linebacker for an injured Rolando McClain.
"I thought Hitchens did a good job in the game," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "He's getting more and more comfortable, more and more confident playing that spot."
That was never more evident than when Jacksonville attempted to convert a 4th-and-1 from its own 29-yard line. Toby Gerhart took a handoff to the right side and was stuffed in the hole, by Hitchens, short of the first down.
"It was Power O once again. I've seen it before," Hitchens said. "Everyone took on their blocks and left me unblocked."
If that sounds familiar, think back to Week 3 of the season. Hitchens also filled in at middle linebacker that day against St. Louis, and his fourth-down stop in the second half helped fuel a Cowboys comeback.
"It's man-to-man and I'm the free guy, so I've just got to get to the ball," he said.
The Cowboys initially dressed McClain when the veteran appeared to be recovering from the knee injury suffered against Arizona. McClain didn't practice all week, but Garrett said the coaches were willing to play him "about a 15-play maximum" if Hitchens needed the help.
Hitchens evidently did not.
"They're building trust with me every week, and I've just got to keep doing my job so I can keep the trust," he said.
The trip to London was apparently a good one for the Cowboys – and for more reasons than just the 31-17 win. The team has spent roughly a week overseas, and the experience was apparently a good one.
"I had no idea, leading up to this, what to expect, and I really, genuinely couldn't have enjoyed this week more," said Tony Romo. "Just the people, the fans, the environment – it's one of my favorite cities in the world, and I have never been anywhere over here."
The experience of London itself has been a popular topic of conversation this week, especially with speculation that the NFL is seeking to put a franchise in the city at some point in the future. Romo isn't typically known for bold proclamations, but he went as far as to endorse London – for NFL teams, as well as people.
"I would recommend it to anyone, so as far as a team in London, I would recommend it," he said.
Dez Bryant, who was waiting for his turn to speak to reporters, heard that comment and seconded it. Bryant said earlier in the week that this trip to the United Kingdom was his first time outside the United States.
"I heard Tony say that he recommends it. I do, too," he said. "I'm going to try to get over here in the offseason and have a good time."
Jack Crawford hadn't recorded a sack since Week 4 against New Orleans, and he hadn't been active for a game since Week 5 against Houston. The third year veteran, a London native, has been battling a calf injury ever since.
How fitting is it, then, that Crawford posted two tackles and a sack Sunday against the Jaguars, playing in front of a hometown crowd at Wembley Stadium – a field usually reserved for soccer.
"I was big into football, soccer as they call it. And yeah, you know, I always thought I wanted to play for the national team and this and that," Crawford said. "You never know where life is going to take you."
On this particular day, life took Crawford on a path right to the quarterback. The Cowboys sacked Blake Bortles four times, and Crawford had the rare experience of making a big play on a stage he never thought he'd see.
"Every defensive lineman dreams about getting a sack, a fumble, in front of his family and friends," he said. "The fact that it happened tonight just made it so much more special."
Here are some more notes from the Cowboys' 31-17 win:
- Today's win against the Jaguars is the Cowboys fifth consecutive win on the road dating back to last season at Washington (12/22/13), marking the longest road win streak since a 10-game road win streak that began in 2006 at Arizona (11/12) through 2007 at Carolina (12/22).
- The Cowboys had four sacks in the game to mark the most sacks since the defense logged five sacks against Philadelphia (12/29/13).
- Dez Bryant's 158 yards in the second quarter are the most by a Cowboys receiver in a single quarter in team history.
- Bryant's two receiving touchdowns today marked his 10th career multi-touchdown game to break a tie with Frank Clarke, Tony Hill and Michael Irvin (all with nine) and take sole possession of the second-most in team history behind Bob Hayes' 15.
- Brandon Carr recorded his first career sack with a takedown of Blake Bortles in the third quarter
- DeMarco Murray had 100 rushing yards to give him 3,914 for his career and top Walt Garrison (3,886) for seventh on the club's all-time rushing yards list.
- Joseph Randle's 40-yard touchdown run in the third quarter marked a career-long rush and was his first score of the season and third of his career.