No wonder Dan Bailey racked up 26 straight field goals this season. For much of the year the Cowboys were able to drive close to the end zone, but couldn't punch the ball in, rather settling for three points.
But that has changed as the year has gone on. The red zone offense hit rock bottom in New England in Week 6, scoring only one touchdown in three trips, leaving the points on the field that would've allowed them to outlast Tom Brady. That one-for-three effort matched their ratio for the season up to that point.
Through five games the offense was just six-for-18 in the red zone, that 33.3 percent conversion rate good for next-to-last in the NFL. It's been a slow climb up the rankings after a poor start, but the Cowboys have indeed improved dramatically in the scoring area.
The Cowboys now rank 20th in the NFL in red zone touchdown percentage, having gotten six points on almost 49 percent of their trips. They've especially taken advantage of those opportunities of late, getting touchdowns on seven of nine possessions past the opponents' 20-yard line in the last two games.
More and more the Cowboys are spreading out opponents, getting their three talented wide receivers and tight end Jason Witten into routes, and letting Tony Romo make a play. Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Laurent Robinson have all caught touchdowns in both of the last two games, with five of their six scores being of the red zone variety.
Robinson in particular has been a boost to the red zone offense, with seven of his nine touchdowns coming in the compacted field.
"I think he has a really good feel," Jason Garrett said of Robinson. "We've talked about him being a quarterback-friendly receiver, and that initial comment comes from how he runs routes. He's a very good route-runner. He's where he's supposed to be when he's supposed to be there. He's a big target. Quarterbacks like to throw to him. I think it's the same thing that applies to his success down in the red zone.
"He finds a way to get in the quarterback's vision and create a throw that the quarterback wants to make. He's done that throughout the season and he's been a big addition for us."