ARLINGTON, Texas – Jason Witten looked happy to be back.
Back in the end zone, back on top of the stat sheet, back in the postgame discussion – you name it. Witten hasn't actually missed any time in the past month, but he certainly hadn't been a factor until Sunday.
Witten led the way in a sloppy win against the Vikings with eight catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. To put that in perspective, it's one fewer catch and 12 yards more than he's had in his last three games combined.
"It's been a tough couple weeks with coverage – there was a lot of double-coverage in Philly and then Detroit last week," Witten said. "It's frustrating for all of us, but you work those situations and stay ahead of the chains – a big part of that is the tight end."
With seven receivers nabbing two or more passes, Witten said a big part of that was the result of Tony Romo working against a conservative defensive scheme.
"They play that Tampa Two scheme, and they do a pretty good job with it," he said. "We knew we were going to have to throw it underneath some. So I thought he just did a great job of getting the ball out quick to the right guys."
Witten was certainly the benefactor of that, as Romo routinely found him on short and intermediate routes with room to run for extra yardage. Of course, the All-Pro tight end still managed to find the highlight reel, as his leaping 26-yard touchdown down the seam was one of the plays of the game.
"We felt like that was an area we could attack – the play action really helped us," he said. "We didn't know if we were going to get that bite, because we weren't running the ball a whole lot. That was big for us."
It was a far cry from the past three weeks, when he combined for nine catches and 90 yards in games against Washington, Philadelphia and Detroit. In fact, Sunday's output against Minnesota was the Cowboy's best passing effort since the 500-yard explosion against Denver.
That's something Witten said the offense needs to work on going forward, as offensive consistency hasn't been a strong point in 2012.
"Ultimately, we've got to play better in those games. We talk about being an elite offense, but we haven't played that way as of late – up to our capabilities," he said. "You keep trying to fine tune, but ultimately you never minimize a win in this league."
That might be the case. Across the board, from Witten to Romo to Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, the message was clear that a win is a win in the NFL. Having said that, Witten reiterated the need for improvement going forward.
"Somewhere deep down, you know you've got to play a lot better. You can be first place in the division and all that, but knowing you've got to play better moving forward," he said. "We all have to realize that and live in the now and understand moving forward, we need to do that in all phases of our football team."