Much of the talk about the Dallas Cowboys’ six-game losing streak has been on the offensive struggles without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.
But the defense deserves a share of the blame. They haven’t made stops in critical situations. They haven’t forced takeaways. And, quite frankly, they haven’t played up to expectations.
The latest example came in Sunday night’s 33-27 overtime loss to Philadelphia. The Cowboys gave up eight plays of at least 20 yards with no takeaways.
“We believe we have guys who can make big plays for us,” coach Jason Garrett said Monday. “They’ve done it before, and we’re confident they can do it again. We’ve got to keep trying to give them tools as a coaching staff to do that. We’ll work on things in practice to get better.
“But the biggest thing that we haven’t done on defense is take the ball away.”
The Cowboys have not had a takeaway in six of eight games this season, and have only four for the season. A year ago they ranked second in the league with 31 takeaways.
The Cowboys have had one-possession losses to New Orleans in overtime, the New York Giants, Seattle and now Philadelphia in overtime.
Garrett blamed the defensive struggles Sunday on not being ready or lined up properly against an up-tempo Eagles team.
“When you play against a team like that, that is playing that up-tempo style, that is always downhill at you, you need to get lined up, you need to make stops early in the drive,” Garrett said. “They feel like they can wear the defense out a little bit and the key to that is you’ve got to get some stops. It’s as simple as that.”