IRVING, Texas – Two catches for 10 yards. That's hardly a Jason Witten-like stat line.
For what we're used to out of Witten, who has been a Pro Bowler for seven of his nine pro seasons, Wednesday's night performance was certainly one of his lower-end games of his career, especially here of late.
But that's from a mere production standpoint. The simple fact that Jason Witten was so willing and adamant to play in this game, despite suffering a lacerated spleen injury back on Aug. 13, is why head coach Jason Garrett said it'll go down as one of his favorite moments from his stellar tight end.
"I thought last night's game was going to be one that I remember one more than any other game that he's played when I've been around him," Garrett said in Thursday's press conference. "Just for all the different circumstances and his approach to it and his determination and a willing to be a part of it."
And there was a lot that went into Witten being cleared. Not only did he stay back and miss the team charter on Tuesday to visit with his doctor that afternoon, but he also saw a New York-based specialist when he arrived later.
That visit is what allowed the Cowboys, coaches, physicians and Witten himself to peace of mind to go play in the game.
Garrett said he spoke to Witten on the team plane following the game and it appeared he "came out of the game, OK" without any issues.
He also said Witten is used to being a starter, but the Cowboys had to find a way to balance giving him a rhythm but also not overusing him.
"He's been starting for a long, long time. So we wanted to make sure we weren't spot playing him," Garrett said of Witten. "So he's in for one play; he's out for three plays; he's in again. He wouldn't really get into any kind of rhythm that he's used to playing with. So we wanted to make sure we played him in a normal rhythm. He would communicate with us. We did not want to play him 70 plays in this ball game. But we wanted to see how it was going and if you talk to us and he gave us good information throughout the game we felt like we'd use him the right way."
The Cowboys now have nine days to prepare for the second game – a Sept. 16 game in Seattle. It seems like no player will use and covet the rest as much as Witten.