Touchdown Drive, Turnovers Part Of Kellen Moore's Regular Season QB Debut

ARLINGTON, Texas – Quarterback Kellen Moore didn't get taller in the two and a half quarters he played Saturday night in relief of benched starter Matt Cassel.

"I've been six feet and 200 (pounds) for a long time," Moore said. "I know who I am. I'm not going to change overnight."

Moore changed something about the Cowboys' offense, at least intermittently, in the team's 19-16 loss to the New York Jets.

He got it moving again.

Taking the first regular-season snaps of his four-year career, Moore (15-of-25, 158 yards) led the Cowboys' offense on its lone touchdown drive of the night – a 10-yard catch by Dez Bryant, his first touchdown in four games. He directed two more field goal drives, including Dan Bailey's tying 50-yarder with 1:55 remaining.

He also threw three interceptions, including one in the end zone intended for Bryant with the Cowboys leading 10-9 in the third quarter.

Some good, some bad. About what you'd expect from a young quarterback making his debut without full first-team reps during the week.

"I thought he did some good things at the game," head coach Jason Garrett said. "He has a good feel for playing the game, I think we all saw that. Obviously we can't turn the ball over; critical turnovers.

"In this game early on, when he was getting his feet underneath him. The red zone turnover, obviously hurt us. But I do think he did some good things, made some good throws at critical moments, kept drives alive. I thought he looked comfortable for his first time out. Obviously you have to eliminate those mistakes, but there were some good things in his performance."

Moore may have had butterflies on his first series. On third-and-7, he threw a jump ball for Terrance Williams that got intercepted by Marcus Gilchrist.

It was reminiscent of Tony Romo replacing Drew Bledsoe in the middle of the 2006 season. His first pass got picked off by the Giants.

Romo, recovering from his second collarbone fracture of the season, was on the sideline to lend support to Moore.

"His career started in a similar situation," Moore said. "Throw a few picks and have some bad moments, but grow from those, learn from them and continue to develop."

[embeddedad0]

Garrett declined to speculate on his starter, Moore or Cassel, for Week 16 at Buffalo. But Moore, whose poise and accuracy compensates well for a non-prototypical quarterback frame, showed positive signs of moving an offense that had averaged 15 points per game in Cassel's previous six starts.

Moore has alternated between the practice squad and the active roster since the end of preseason. He arrived with strong references from Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who coached him in Detroit. Garrett and Linehan focus more on Moore's track record as a winner -- he compiled a 50-3 record as a college starter -- than his height or arm strength.

He might very well get another opportunity. Saturday was his first game audition.

"It's never an easy situation just because I've been here to support Matt through everything and help him in any way," he said. "Certainly if you're called upon you've got to be ready and that was the case."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Advertising