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.
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.