- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Other than the guy who signs the checks, nobody in the Dallas Cowboys organization would dare declare that Sunday’s shootout loss to the Denver Broncos was a moral victory.
The offensive players, however, are certainly encouraged by what they saw on film.
“I feel damn good about the way we played,” said receiver Dez Bryant, who scored two touchdowns in the game. “I feel like if we can continue doing that, we can stack some wins together. …
“Every loss is frustrating, but with this kind of loss, we can take something from it. What we can take from it is how explosive we played, the mindset that we had.”
Added head coach Jason Garrett: “That is the way we want to play.”
The Cowboys scored 48 points, matching the most by an NFL team in a loss since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. They made several revisions to the franchise record book in the process.
Quarterback Tony Romo shattered the franchise record with 506 passing yards, averaging a jaw-dropping 14.1 yards per attempt, and matched another franchise mark with five touchdowns. Three Cowboys – Terrance Williams (151), Bryant (141) and Jason Witten (121) – had 100-yard receiving days for only the third time in franchise history. Dallas attacked the Denver defense for 522 yards, the 12th-most in team history.
Garrett wants the Cowboys to “aggressively take what the defense gives you.” There had been talk, including from the front office, that the Cowboys hadn’t been aggressive enough attacking downfield in the passing game through the first four weeks.
Sunday's performance displayed the dynamic potential there is with that facet of the Cowboys' offense. Dallas had nine 20-plus yard receptions, matching the team’s total in the first four games. That includes Williams’ 82-yard touchdown and Bryant’s 79-yard gain that set up another score.
“You certainly want to play with that same style,” Garrett said. “Statistically, I don’t know if we’ll replicate that. It hasn’t been done very much in the history of the franchise. So you just try to play with that same attacking, aggressive style.”
Witten called the performance the standard for the Cowboys' offense. Bryant couldn’t have put it any better.
“There’s no other way,” Bryant said. “I think he’s exactly right. There’s no other way to put it. We are explosive. We are, and that’s our identity, an explosive offense. I think we showed that.”
If they show that again, it’s hard to believe that it won’t lead to a win.