IRVING, Texas (AP) — Jason Witten wishes he could blame the dropped passes on his spleen injury, the time he missed because of it, or feeling badly in some way.
The Dallas Cowboys' seven-time Pro Bowl tight end instead said he just isn't making the plays.
The usually reliable receiver, and one of quarterback Tony Romo's favorite targets, has had several bobbles in the past two games. That includes a likely touchdown while running alone down the field in a close victory on Sunday against Tampa Bay, a ball off his fingertips that he juggled and dropped.
"Not all of them are perfect opportunities where it's just between the 8 and the 2 (on the jersey), and you catch it and you go on, but plays I expect to make," Witten said Monday. "I take full responsibility for it, and rest assured that I'm going to get it fixed."
Witten had as many drops (six) as catches in the past two games.
After he lacerated his spleen in the preseason opener on Aug. 13, he had to be immobile as much as possible for a week. Witten managed to get back in time to play the Sept. 5 regular-season opener — being cleared by doctors in New York only a day before the game against the Super Bowl-champion Giants. Witten was an inspirational part of that victory even with only two catches for 10 yards.
But Witten hasn't seemed like himself the last two games, with several balls he expects to catch, and usually has in the past, like the missed scoring chance Sunday in a 16-10 win over Tampa Bay.
"I wish there was a way I could say I wasn't feeling good, or I'm pressing or anything like that. It's not that," Witten said. "That would be the easy way to really get out of it, but bottom line is, you've got to get it fixed. It's unacceptable."
The Cowboys (2-1) will host Chicago next Monday night.
Now in his 10th NFL season, Witten's 704 career catches are second only to Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin for the Cowboys, and third among NFL tight ends.
But that wasn't the topic of conversation Monday when he was among only a few players who appeared in the locker room. Witten answered questions for more than 12 minutes, and said it hurts to not make the plays.