The Dallas Cowboys have had a really, really good defense this year.
It’s a damn shame.
This defensive unit has played very well this year with little to no help from the other side of the ball. They’re great at holding on for three to three and a half quarters, but they are human and at a certain point they will break.
Such was the case against thew New York Jets.
Dick LeBeau, the long time Defensive Coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers and current DC for the Titans, has a simple philosophy. Hold the opposing offense to 17 or less points and you should win the game.
The Cowboys lost 19-16… so the philosophy certainly held true for the Jets.
Consider though that the Cowboys held one of the hottest offenses in the NFL (surprisingly captain’d and initiated largely by Ryan Fitzpatrick) to only 19 points. You should win that game.
The Cowboys only allowed the Jets to score two offensive touchdowns, that’s an incredible job by all involved. They even managed to pull off something rarer than an offensive touchdown this season when new Cowboy Terrance Mitchell had an interception!
Three plays after Mitchell’s interception set them up with only 21 yards to the endzone… the Cowboys kicked a field goal.
This whole defense-is-good-but-the-offfense-is-struggling thing is a particularly frustrating experience for Cowboys fans.
For the majority of his career Tony Romo has had to engineer heroic high-scoring performances for this team to have a chance because of the defense’s inability to hold opponents. So now, for the first time in a long time, the defense is capable of that and Tony is on the sidelines wearing sweats. Big time sigh.
Many will point to Byron Jones getting “burnt” by Kenbrell Thompkins for 43 yards in the final seconds of the game as the reason for the loss, and that is really unfair.
The Cowboys had held the Jets, the 10th highest scoring team in the NFL, to 16 points up until then. They’d done their job… the dam just finally broke.
I normally hand out grades to individual position groups when evaluating the Dallas Cowboys, but that didn’t feel right here. The defense played spectacularly all things considered and had the game within a field goal near the end… despite the offense turning the ball over four times on the day.
The defense’s performance as a whole, from top to bottom, was fantastic on Saturday Night. It just wasn’t enough.
Maybe now they’ll understand what Tony Romo felt all the times when scoring 35+ wasn’t enough.