The Cowboys were remarkable in penalties getting called twice for 31 yards. They also won the turnover battle, taking the ball away four times. Sad stat: The Lions are the second team in the history of the NFL to win a game after having four turnovers. The Cowboys lost the time of possession battle – 24:49 to 35:11. They also failed on third down conversions going 3 of 13.
Two gigantic failures on behalf of the Dallas Cowboys offense came in the fourth quarter. The inability to get a first down when they started on their 19 yard line with 3:33. Which was the worst possible time to go three and out. Second was running three plays and settling for a field goal when you get the ball on the Lions 31 yard line. Elite teams would’ve scored a touchdown in that situation. You don’t make it hard for the other team to come back, you make it impossible. Put the dagger in their throat and twist it.
Defensively, Monte Kiffin’s defensive play calling and alignment frustrates me. Take a look at this screen shots from the Detroit Lions first touchdown. Detroit Lions at the Cowboys 2 yard line on fourth down. Instead of attacking Calvin Johnson or any of the receivers at the line of scrimmage, everyone gets a free release. Brandon Carr backpedals as if he’s defending the back pylon so Calvin Johnson strolls to the goal line and catches the ball. It was simply too easy and a complete defensive coverage failure. Fourth and 2, and you don’t jam the receivers at the line of scrimmage? It’s football 101.
In the first photo, the Cowboys look as if they are going to protect the goal line and jam the receivers.
Notice how Seattle’s defenders are all “hat on hat”, with their hands on the receivers and defending the goal line. They even have a rusher coming off the edge. That’s how you play tough, physical goal line defense and earn respect around the league.
The Cowboys defenders were told they would be playing more like the Seahawks defense this season. It seems, even at 73 years old, Monte Kiffin has a lot to learn.