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Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Have Cowboys found third-down momentum?

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys' third-down offense has been as efficient as the healthcare.gov website this season.

Just when you think the bugs are worked out, a new problem arises.

Perhaps Sunday’s final drive against the New York Giants is a sign the Cowboys are about to turn a corner with their third-down offense. On the 65-yard drive, Tony Romo converted on third down three times with passes to Dez Bryant (twice) and Cole Beasley to set up Dan Bailey's winning kick.

“You hope so,” tight end Jason Witten said. “We have to do a better job there. That’s an area of focus. We have to do a better job converting there. The last few weeks it’s got us in trouble and we haven’t done a good enough job on third down. You hope that gives you confidence moving forward.”

For the season the Cowboys are converting just 33.1 percent of the time (42 of 127). They were four of 11 against the Giants and have been above 50 percent in a game just once (four of six against Denver).

“A lot of people want to talk about momentum,” coach Jason Garrett said. “I think momentum is something that you have to continue to make happen. It’s not some outside force. And you have to execute the next play and then the momentum continues. So there’s no question, though, that you can feel more confident walking up to the plate your fourth-time up if you’ve got a single, a double and a triple. You probably feel pretty good digging in, you know, in the bottom of the eighth, with guys on base. You feel good about yourself. So there’s no question past success gives you a certain feeling of confidence to maybe handle that next situation better. But having said that, you got to go handle the situation. You got to go hit the curveball or the slider or whatever it is that’s being presented to you.”