Cowboys: Defense Fails To Show In Season’s First Loss


28. 123. Final. 39. 44

The Dallas Cowboys defense was great last week in Philadelphia, but generally non-existent against a real NFL offense in the Atlanta Falcons.

You could see this loss coming, although you probably thought it would happen under different circumstances.

Instead of the offense generating little with backup quarterback Brandon Weeden under center, the former Oklahoma State Cowboys passer played a pretty solid game.

As opposed to the Cowboys defense suffocating its opponent, like it did against the Eagles last weekend, this unit was a virtual no-show at AT&T Stadium.

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Make no mistake: the defense trotted out by the Falcons is not a very good unit.

The Dallas defense is far worse, at least right now.

How else can you lose a football game in which you had four rushing touchdowns and well over 100 yards gained on the ground while averaging 6.0 yards per carry?

A halftime advantage of 28-17 was completely eradicated in the second half en route to a 39-28 pasting.

Yes, the loss was probably inevitable given the cascade of injuries and unavailability suffered by the Cowboys at this point of the season. Still, you would have thought that things would have happened in a different order or for different reasons.

Weeden started this game about as hot as a quarterback can, takeaway some deeper passes to wide receivers. By the time the Cowboys were up 14-0, Weeden was a cool 4-4 and seeming to get stronger as the game wore on. The running game was explosive early on as well.

The second half was actually a vanishing act by the Cowboys on both sides of the ball. Zero points in the second half were scored by an offense that only ran 22 plays in the second half.

As was stated all week by media analysts of all types and Cowboys fans of all locations, the 2015 regular season is all about staying above water, something they still are at 2-1. Dallas still leads the NFC East division by one game.

For how long this lasts is the real question.

At this point, players like defensive ends Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory can’t return to the field soon enough. At the very least, we know the former will be re-activated following a four-game suspension in just seven days. Repeat that to yourself as often as necessary if it brings some relief.

Cowboys Nation cannot wait for middle linebacker Rolando McClain to take his rightful spot in the center of a linebacker corps that ended up utterly clueless against a Falcons running back named Devonta Freeman. This guy was a fourth-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft that scored more touchdowns against the Cowboys (3) than he had in his entire career before Week 3.

In wrapping up this reflection, it’s clear that the Falcons defense isn’t going to improve,€“ yet the Cowboys defense will, and soon.

There’s one more test,€“ and perhaps a break,€“ coming before Dallas starts getting key players back.

Week 4 presents a meeting with the New Orleans Saints for the second-straight year. Last season’s game represented one of the first glimpses of the reality that the Cowboys might be legitimate playoff contenders. The 38-17 win in Arlington enacted a measure of revenge for a huge loss the season prior in New Orleans that exposed the Dallas defense tremendously.

Well, the Cowboys defense will be tested again, but according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Saints quarterback Drew Brees is almost certain not to be administering that examination. Still nursing a shoulder injury, it’s unclear when,€“ or if,€“ Brees will be back this season.

Following Sunday’s 27-22 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Saints are now 0-3 on the season.

Yes, the time is now to forget Atlanta and start prepping physically and mentally for the biggest game of the season next Sunday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Help is on the way thereafter.

Next: TCU: Horned Frogs Survive With Miracle In Lubbock

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  • Published on 09/27/2015 at 22:18 PM
  • Last updated at 09/27/2015 at 22:17 PM