Any questions about what effect the changes Monte Kiffin has implemented in the Dallas Cowboy’s defense were answered last Sunday in the Cowboy’s 36-31 victory over the New York Giants.
Not only did the Cowboys get their first home victory against the Giants in the majestic AT&T Stadium, they created 6 turnovers along the way.
To put that number into perspective, the Cowboys only forced 16 turnovers all of last season. That comes out to an average of one turnover per game. In other words, in the first game of this season we managed to get nearly 40% of the turnovers we got in all 16 games last year.
Now for the bad news. Given that two of the turnovers were returned for touchdowns, that means that the Cowboy’s offense only accounted for 24 points against New York’s 31. Also, narrowly defeating a team after 6 turnovers isn’t exactly an impressive offensive outing. You would expect such a one-sided turnover ratio to lead to a blowout.
Another concern is that even though we received 6 turnovers, we still allowed Eli Manning to complete for 450 yards (a number that I’m pretty confident will be his season high). That begs the question of our secondary’s ability to shut down the pass, or stop the big plays. The real question is, if not for the 6 turnovers, how badly could WE have been blown out?
That is the main reason I feel Jerry should have kept quiet after this game. Don’t get me wrong, the Giants fake injuries more than just about any team in the league. Anytime they are trailing in the final minutes, I feel like I’m watching outtakes from the Bruce Willis movie “Surrogates”. It’s just that any time a team beats you in pretty much every aspect but turnovers, it’s probably not an appropriate time to start jawing.
I am incredibly impressed with the improved aggressiveness of this defense, and am hopeful about our progress moving forward. As far as wether or not we can keep this high turnover rate up, or do a better job of stopping the pass as the season progresses, well…the Kiffin effect has yet to be determined.