Cowboys’ defense rattled after 51-point catastrophe

Posted Sunday, Oct. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Sean Lee can recognize what is happening to the Dallas Cowboys.

They are losing, and he knows why.

“Two weeks in a row, we’ve given up way too many points, way too many yards. And until we get better, we’re not going to win ballgames,” he said. “It’s purely on us.”

The “us” and “we” is the defense.

A week after surrendering an 11-point lead at San Diego, the Cowboys’ defense gave up 51 points and was left in tatters by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Three weeks ago, the defense couldn’t get a final stop at Kansas City that might have given the offense one more chance.

Lee, the middle linebacker and acknowledged leader of the defense, stood at his locker and accepted the failure.

“We were just terrible,” he said. “No way around it. We were just terrible across the board. 51 points. Unbelievable. We need to take a look at ourselves and find a way, because we let the team down.”

Lee said the failure was across the board.

“Everybody was not winning, starting with me,” he said. “We weren’t winning. We weren’t rallying to the football enough. We weren’t making enough plays.”

The Cowboys’ defense can at least say it collected the first turnover against Manning. Morris Claiborne’s interception in the third quarter ended the quarterback’s career-best string of passes without an interception at 226.

But by that time, Manning had already thrown four touchdown passes, becoming the first NFL quarterback to throw 20 touchdown passes without an interception to start a season. He finished with 414 yards, passing Dan Marino for second on the all-time list.

“I’m so proud of this team, the way we came out and the way we fought today,” said Claiborne, who also had a fumble recovery to stop the Broncos’ first drive of the game. “We come out like this each and every week, like we’re playing an undefeated team every week, the sky’s the limit for us. We didn’t make enough plays today. It showed.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones allowed himself some optimism about the defense.

“Knowing my expectations playing Denver and playing Peyton Manning coming in, I’m going to cut him some slack,” he said of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

Truth be told, the Cowboys will not have to face another offense as good as the Broncos the rest of the season.

The rest of the regular season, that is.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

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