Cowboys lose in maddening fashion, defense falters again

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 02: Anthony Hitchens
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 02: Anthony Hitchens /

For the second week in a row, the Dallas Cowboys score thirty points, yet it’s still not enough for a defense that can’t stop anyone.

Granted, yesterday’s game can certainly be blamed on receiver Terrance Williams’s drop. Take away the ensuing tip drill pick six, and we’re singing a whole different tune today. But the fact remains that this Dallas Cowboys defense cannot get a stop to save their lives. This was again on full display during yesterday’s slow motion train wreck.

Unfortunately, this will probably be the case for the remainder of the season. Sure, players like defensive linemen David Irving and Demarcus Lawrence show a lot of promise. And when linebacker Sean Lee is healthy, he is a disruptive force. But too often, it appears those three are trying to do the work of eleven. Plus, Lee’s injury absence has exposed this unit’s lack of speed for the whole league to see.

It’s hard to pin any aspect of yesterday on the offense. Of course, the aforementioned interception return didn’t help matters at all. But that’s simply a matter of Terrance Williams playing to his paper. Remember, this is the guy who forgot to run out of bounds in last season’s opener, thereby eliminating any shot at a desperation winning field goal. The dude’s just not that good.

No, this one falls at the feet of the defense. Green Bay has employed a revolving door on the offensive line. Yesterday was no exception. Even then, they were able to run all over the Cowboys’ front seven. With a few exceptions, the Packers’ line gave Aaron Rodgers sufficient time to throw. At any point in that game, one defensive stop changes the outcome. It simply appears the Cowboys don’t have the horses on defense.

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This bunch doesn’t cause turnovers. They’re not stout against the run like they were last year. Until Lee returns, they really have no one in the linebacking corps with sideline-to-sideline speed. Also, if we’re being honest, linebacker Jaylon Smith really has no business getting heavy playing time.

Yes, his story is inspiring. Sure, it’s cool to root for him because of the work he’s put in. By all accounts, he’s a stand up guy and fine human being. But he routinely looks slow and overmatched.

It’s a reasonable question to ask whether or not he’d be starting for any other team in the league.

I tried to take some positives away from the Rams game. Today, it’s hard to do the same. The Cowboys have posted 30 and 31 points in consecutive weeks, but they’ve taken the “L” in both cases. Furthermore, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News tweeted this nugget last night: “How bad was this loss for Dallas? Cowboys held ball for 12:44 of 4th quarter and were outscored 20-10 in period.” That seems virtually impossible, but it’s exactly what happened. It makes this loss all the more dumbfounding.

Next: Dallas Mavericks: Assessing the logjam in the frontcourt

So now we get to stare into the NFL abyss known as the bye week. An extra week of chewing on this loss won’t taste good. A chance to regain some semblance of health awaits when they travel to Santa Clara, CA to play the Forty Niners. But at the rate this team is going, nothing is guaranteed. A season bursting with potential has a very real chance of going horribly wrong unless they fix their problems, and now they have two weeks to think about it.