LANDOVER, Md. – No, your eyes did not deceive you. That really was Martellus Bennett making some clutch catches.
The Dallas Cowboys used a second-round pick on Bennett in 2008 because of his potential to be a weapon in the passing game. While he’s been a solid blocker, his lack of production as a receiver has been a major disappointment.
That’s what made Bennett’s key contributions in Sunday’s overtime win so sweet. His three catches for 31 yards included a difficult, one-handed catch of a tipped pass behind him for a 13-yard gain on the Cowboys’ last touchdown drive and a 14-yard, tackler-dragging gain to begin the game-winning series in overtime.
“I really needed this game,” said Bennett, who had only six catches for 49 yards in the first nine games. “I know I didn’t have 150 yards or anything like that, but I really needed a game where I could get out there and get involved in the passing game. I was just getting in the routine of blocking, blocking, blocking. It kind of weighs down on you when you’re a tight end.
“I didn’t really need a swag boost, but I did need to go out there and catch a couple of balls. I was happy to go out there and have some success.”
Jason Garrett cited Bennett as an example of a player who took advantage of his opportunities, something the head coach constantly stresses to his team. Owner/general manager Jerry Jones hopes this is the beginning of a perception-changing trend.
"I've told him he’s probably a big-time play away, a couple big-time plays with his confidence, of really taking some of the how he's viewed and turning that around,” Jones said. “And we know he blocks good."