Grab a football Dallas Cowboys fans. Toss it into the air. Anywhere. Throw a bullet. Or a bomb. And just wait for gravity to pull the ball.
There’s a good chance tight end Jason Witten will pop up out of nowhere to make the catch. Why do you ask? Lucky you — it’s third down.
How the 32-year-old, 6 foot 6 inches hides on our television and defenses is beyond me. He’s like a hidden Hobbit when the ball is snapped, but pops on the screen like Sloth from The Goonies movie. The guy wants his treats, and he’s patient enough to do it on third down, too.
Witten helped propel the Cowboys to a 24-20 playoff win with five catches for 63 yards, and averaged 12.6 yards a catch. He did not score, but gained 21 yards on a critical fourth down catch in the fourth quarter when the Cowboys were down 20-17.
With six minutes on the clock, Witten, a 12-year veteran, created distance between himself and the defender on a textbook route to give his long-time friend Tony Romo another blanket of comfort.
Breaking news: Jason Witten is not fast. A 17-year-old at your nearest high school could out run him.
And yet, number 82, is always open.
Always. The guy is like an ongoing Kim Kardashian show — turn on the television and he’s right there.
At some point the FBI has to get involved in this investigation. You’d think by now defenses would catch up, or at least throw up a red alert on third down scoping Witten with laser like cat eyes.
But nope, Jason is open. He’s a silent running nightmare for defenses, a wrecking havoc maniac who sends the special teams back to the bench.
Mr. Reliable’s Wild Card Game Log:
• 1st Quarter | 1st & 10 | Gains 13 Yards
• 1st Quarter | 3rd & 12 | Gains 16 Yards
• 2nd Quarter | 3rd & 4 | Gains 12 Yards
• 3rd Quarter | 2nd & 2 | Gains 1 Yard
• 4th Quarter | 4th & 6 | Gains 21 Yards
After converting the 4th and 6 from the Detroit Lions 42 yard line, Witten and company watched the Cowboys plunge a decisive dagger to take a 24-20 lead. Wide receiver Terrance Williams‘ touchdown score, set up by Witten nine plays earlier, would hold and go down as the winning play.
This is what Witten does. When he isn’t scoring, he’s setting up others to score.
Some say the tight end has lost a step, or that a few gears in his transmission are retired because of his age. With the emergence of running back DeMarco Murray and the offensive line, Witten is where he is suppose to be.
Reliable? Clutch? You bet.
Flipping a page back to 1995, former tight end and Cowboy favorite Jay Novacek, caught 62 passes for 705 yards, along with 5 scores and averaged 11.4 yards per catch.
It was the last time the Cowboys appeared in and won a Super Bowl.
Forward to the present: Witten has 64 receptions, 703 receiving yards, averaged 11 yards a catch, with 5 touchdowns.
In both 1995 and 2014, the Dallas running backs earned the NFL’s top rushing spot. If Witten isn’t catching 3rd down passes, he’s blocking so Murray can move the chains.
Jason Witten isn’t slowing down; he’s doing what he has to do. Usually, that’s running a perfect 3rd or 4th down route, and forcing the cameras to follow him.
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