This Cowboys Defense Came Up Huge In Detroit, And Will Do So Again

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A popular mantra leading up to this Sunday’s game against Minnesota at AT&T Stadium is the Dallas Cowboys defense “can’t stop anyone.” This type of selective memory is typical among a certain sect of Cowboys fans, and it is unfair to a defensive unit that has been blistered at times this year, sure, but has also come up huge in important moments.

Oct 20, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (97) during warmups prior to playing the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 17-3. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

With last week’s game on the line, and Dallas protecting a 3-point lead with just over two minutes remaining, the Cowboys defense stopped Detroit cold on four plays, giving the ball back to the offense with 1:24 left on the clock. They accomplished the feat with just one projected starter on the defensive line, a backup rookie fourth-round pick in the slot, and two undrafted rookie free agents playing safety.

If the Cowboys offense could have run just one minute off the clock following that improbable, clutch stop, the Dallas “D” are the unlikely heroes of a 5-3 team.

The week before that Dallas held a potent Philadelphia offense averaging 26 points per game to just 3 points at home. Against the Redskins, the Dallas defensive line turned in the play of the game with a strip sack of Robert Griffin III while protecting a one-score lead in the fourth quarter.

In Week 5 they were the first team in the league to intercept Peyton Manning. In Week 1 they iced the game with a fourth quarter pick-six of Eli Manning.  

The Dallas “D” has won games almost single-handed this year, and played an enormously positive role in all three division wins. And the fact is, the Cowboys have given up fewer points this year overall than several teams that are praised for their defenses, including Miami, Detroit and the New York Jets.

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  • BajaJohn1

    But they gave up 618 yards to the Lions…

  • ed

    Brilliant observations. “Sufficient for today is the evil thereof”. Let us enjoy what we have to enjoy now and those who abide will see if the future holds good fortune of bad.

  • realistfan

    Well, let’s back up a second. To be fair this defense that “came up huge” last week came up so huge they allowed 24 of 31 points in the fourth quarter, after the offense came form behind, got and sustained a lead the entire game.
    Same defense that allowed 51 points after the Offense got a 14 point lead on the Broncos, and kept getting the lead back throughout the game.
    Yeah, that defense – worst in the NFL in yardage, middle of the pack in scoring allowed, and near the top in turnovers.

    Better in scoring and turnovers than last year, worse in yardage, and still CAN’T STOP THE GOOD TEAMS WHEN THEY HAVE TO.

    Fix that, and you have a playoff contender (although a couple more decent linemen and a running attack would help too).

    Bottom line point was on target though – should we have expected some growing pains and middle of the pack performance from the Cowboys, especially with the injuries and losses in the defense (and losing Brian Waters)? Yes.

    And 4-4 is about right – a few plays away from being 6-2 or 7-1. Can they work some magic against tougher competition the last half? We’ll see.

    Rooting for you ‘Boys!! — but not expecting much.

    • John

      How can you say the Cowboys can’t stop the good teams when they have to? They stopped a good Detroit team with less than 2 minutes to play protecting a 3-point lead. How can you say the Cowboys can’t do something that you LITERALLY JUST WATCHED THEM DO.
      The Cowboys CAN stop teams when they have to. We know they can because we’ve observed them doing it.

      • realistfan

        John, while they had one defensive stop in the quarter, they gave up 24 points in the quarter to lose the game. You can’t pick out one defensive series as an example of what they can do. They needed to lock down Detroit that quarter and failed, especially in the last drive when Detroit scored the game winner. My point remains.
        This last week against Vikings another example – made Ponder look like a pro quarterback, and Peterson had his usual 100+ yards. Offense had to win on the last drive. Thank God for Romo!