Cowboys’ lack of takeaways hurts strong defensive effort

Posted Sunday, Sep. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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It was only 17 points.

That’s all the Cowboys’ defense gave up Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“That’s not a disappointment,” safety Barry Church said.

But really, it was 17 points and two first downs on the last possession, when the offense had to have the ball back. The two first downs let the Chiefs use up all but the last 16 seconds of the game, and the Cowboys’ offense had no chance to come back in a 17-16 loss.

“As a defense, we can’t allow that at all,” Church said. “We pride ourselves as the backbone of our team, the defense. I feel like that’s what we are. I feel like we let the team down today.”

The Cowboys had some things to feel good about on defense.

They collected four sacks, including the first two of the season from DeMarcus Ware and the first of his career for Bruce Carter. Defensive end Anthony Spencer played for the first time, and he had two tackles and a quarterback hurry. There were six tackles for loss, and Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was held to 3.4 yards a carry.

“We kept the explosive play off of us,” cornerback Orlando Scandrick said. “That was a big thing for us.”

Then he added: “But we also had six turnovers last week.”

Ah, that’s what was missing from the defensive performance. The Cowboys had zero takeaways.

“Just got to rip that ball out, get turnovers,” Church said. “We weren’t able to get that today. It proved to be the difference.”

Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher agreed.

“We’ve got to outplay their defense. They got two turnovers, we’ve got to get four. So we couldn’t get the ball out,” Hatcher said. “We played great upfront and made some plays, made some clutch plays, got the ball back to the offense. But when it counted, we didn’t show up.”

Not that there weren’t chances.

Carter got his hands on a pass in the second quarter that could have been a touchdown with the Cowboys leading 10-7.

“We have to be more aggressive on knocking the ball out and getting interceptions and capitalizing on our opportunities,” Ware said. “There was one opportunity we didn’t capitalize. We dropped it. We’ve got to figure out how not to miss the missed opportunities.”

Hatcher, who also had a sack, thought about it all and walked away disappointed.

“We didn’t execute right there at the end when it really mattered,” he said.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760 Twitter @calexmendez

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