It was the kind of achievement worth celebrating, or at least acknowledging.
But when Cowboys tight end Jason Witten broke the franchise record for receptions last week, it barely made a ripple.
Of course, it came on the road, near the end of a loss that dropped them to 3-5, which is why Witten himself didn’t realize it until afterward. Witten topped Michael Irvin’s 750 catches in the middle of a no-huddle drive in the fourth quarter.
“One day when I look back at it, I want to show this record the respect it deserves,” Witten told Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com. “I am humbled to break it. A lot of great skill players have worn the [Cowboys] star on their helmets.
“To say I’m the leading receiver is special, but my focus has always been on the team and helping us win.”
If they don’t win tomorrow’s game against the Eagles, the goals they set this year will be hard to meet, as the two 3-5 teams share a desperation.
“We’re still a confident group,” Witten said. “We’ve had three or four really close games and were just barely on the losing end. We have to execute better, obviously. It’s going to be a fight going to Philly because we know their backs are against the wall, too.”
If Witten can find open spaces the way Saints tight end Jimmy Graham did Monday night (eight catches, 72 yards, one touchdown), the Cowboys will have a much better chance.
Witten still leads all tight ends with 58 receptions for 538 yards, amazing considering the lacerated spleen he suffered in the preseason, and an early stretch of out-of-character drops.
“I’ve played well,” Witten said. “I had a couple of drops early on after my spleen injury, but since then, I’ve put that behind me. Tony and I are completing a high percentage of passes between us. I’d like to have more opportunities in the red zone to score, but I feel like we’re locked in.”
Now with the individual goals checked off, turning around a season gone awry remains his first priority.