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Oct 27, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (21) runs the ball during the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Offense Puts Up 30, But Don’t Pin This Loss On The D


The Cowboys 31-30 loss Sunday at Detroit marked the second time this year and the sixth time since 2011 that the Cowboys offense has scored at least 30 points and the team lost. A porous and unreliable defense has certainly cost Dallas during the Jason Garrett era, but don’t pin this loss on the D.

The Dallas offense managed just 10 points off four Detroit turnovers in the second and third quarters. Dallas managed only 30 yards of offense in the four drives following the turnovers, punting twice.

Twice the defense gave Dallas the ball back in Detroit territory, and twice the offense scored – but they only managed four yards of total offense on those scoring drives.

Linebacker Sean Lee returned a second-quarter interception 74 yards to the Detroit 4-yard line to set up the team’s only touchdown off a turnover. Fittingly, it took a 5-yard touchdown pass on third down to hit paydirt on a 4-yard drive – nothing came easy for this offense, even though the turnovers were plentiful.

On the Cowboys’ other score off a turnover, cornerback Brandon Carr returned a third-quarter fumble to the Detroit 35-yard line. A Joseph Randle run for no gain and two incompletions later, Dan Bailey kicked a 53-yard field goal. The scoring drive: Three plays, 0 yards, three points.

Twice the defense gave the Cowboys the ball back in their own territory, and both times Dallas ended up punting.

Lee intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass on the second play of the second quarter, giving the Cowboys the ball back at their own 38-yard line. The resulting drive consisted of three passes for nine yards and a punt. Quarterback Tony Romo, harassed all day but never sacked, had to throw the ball away under duress on third down.

Safety Jeff Heath, making his first career start, forced a fumble in the third quarter that gave Dallas the ball back on its own 32-yard line. This time, the Cowboys offense managed 17 yards and one first down before punting the ball away at midfield.

The Dallas defense folded in the fourth quarter, no question, but the 13-7 lead Dallas took into the game’s final frame could have been much bigger. The problem was pass efficiency – Romo completed just 14 of 30 pass attempts. It marks the first time Romo has completed less than half of his passes since the 33-31 loss to the New York Giants in Week 2 of the 2009 season – that was 60 starts ago.

So don’t put this one all on the D.

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  • philyew

    Look, however many blown opportunities to increase the Cowboys’ points tally, the defense HAS to be able to defend a 30 point total. It HAS to be able to prevent a QB passing for 400 yards in a game and it HAS to be able to stop a drive when there is little over a minute on the clock and most of all it has to stop a WR racking up over 300 yards, even if that receiver is Megatron.

    Other defenses manage to do this, in fact every defense does a better job than 32nd rated Dallas.

    On this occasion everyone, particularly the coaches, contributed to the catastrophe, but a defense which can be routed at will by any number of QBs is a chronic problem that has to be fixed as a priority.

  • Old Frog

    Tony Romo looked like he was asleep the whole game. Calm on the sidelines is good but he looked flat out uninspired. Maybe if he had some of Dez’s passion, he would have completed more passes.

  • Big D Fan

    They are both at fault. Makes no sense the defense just letting them drive without stopping them at all. But then you had 4 turnovers. 4-0 and you couldn’t score touchdowns off those turnovers. Second week in a row the offense took off

  • jrcowboy49

    In spite of Romo’s poor performance, Dallas had a 10 point lead in the 4th qtr thanks to the defense, and OC Callahan’s conservative play calling the last 4 minutes gave away the game! Calling for running plays that had little impact throughout the game was not going to run out a 4 minute play clock and resulted in a 3 and out! The defense was expecting the run with 8 in the box and shut Dallas down when one or two 1st downs would have clinched the win. Garrett should have over ruled Callahan and went with the pass. As a result of their blunder Dallas lost and if I was the GM both would be fired!

  • ed

    On further review. The Boys last possession. Three running plays then a punt gives the Lions the ball deep in their own end, with no time outs, and twenty to twentyfive seconds on the clock. Sound strategy. The refs saved the Lions with the holding call. The same as adding 45 seconds to the clock.