Dallas Cowboys

Frustrated Cowboys lose another late lead

Dallas hasn’t made enough plays on defense early or late to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Dallas hasn’t made enough plays on defense early or late to snap a seven-game losing streak. Star-Telegram

The Dallas Cowboys watched helplessly as Jameis Winston lumbered into the end zone after faking them out on a bootleg.

After allowing only three points for 59 minutes and 6 seconds, the Cowboys gave up the game-winning touchdown.

That’s very tough, especially giving it up on the defensive side of the ball.

Cowboys safety Barry Church on blown late lead

The Cowboys had seen this horror show before. Like last week and the week before and the week before that ...

For the fourth time in a row, the Cowboys surrendered the game-winning points in the fourth quarter or in overtime.

Dallas Cowboys DL Tyrone Crawford reacts to his team's 10-6 loss in Tampa Bay (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).

“That’s very tough, especially giving it up on the defensive side of the ball,” safety Barry Church said. “We played great for three quarters, and then on that last drive, they kind of stuck it to us with a couple of double-move plays and penalties here and there. I felt like we just beat ourselves. We’ve just got to become more disciplined. We’ve just got to find a way to win.”

Only once in their seven-game losing streak have the Cowboys trailed by more than one score the fourth quarter. They were behind the New England Patriots 20-6 entering the fourth quarter and lost 30-6.

Cowboys veteran DE Jeremy Mincey's team is tied for the fewest NFL wins with just two (video by Mac Engel/ Star-Telegram).

▪ The Cowboys led the Atlanta Falcons 28-25 in the fourth quarter before losing 39-28.

▪ They took the New Orleans Saints to overtime but allowed an 80-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the extra period in a 26-20 loss.

▪ They tied the New York Giants 20-20 for 13 seconds in the fourth quarter before allowing Dwayne Harris to return the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for the game-winning score.

▪ They led the Seahawks 12-10, but allowed Seattle to drive 79 yards in 17 plays and 5:35 for the game-winning field goal with 1:06 left.

▪ They twice tied the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter last week before giving up a 41-yard touchdown pass only 4:01 into overtime.

“It definitely is [frustrating],” safety Jeff Heath said. “We like to pride ourselves on being the best in the fourth quarter and being the best with the game on the line. We work on it a ton, more than a lot of teams I feel like. To come up short, it’s hard.”

We didn’t do what we needed to do.

Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford

On Sunday, the Bucs won the game with a nine-play, 56-yard touchdown drive that ate up 3:06. The Cowboys had two defensive holding penalties on the final drive, one of which negated a fumble recovery by Dallas in the end zone.

“We didn’t do what we needed to do,” defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford said. “There was a job we needed to get done, and we didn’t get it done. We just got to be better at the end of the game.”

The Cowboys’ defense was expected to carry the team while Tony Romo was out recovering from a fractured left collarbone. Instead, Romo returns next week to find his team on the verge of playoff elimination partly because the defense couldn’t make a stop when it most needed to make a stop.

“We’ve just got to find a way to get it done,” cornerback Byron Jones said. “We’re not doing that right now, and we’re working on it throughout the week. We’ve just got to find a way.”

Dallas Cowboys are 2-7 and will need a miracle to make the playoffs (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).

Bryant met with reporters following the Cowboys' loss on Sunday in Tampa. Video by Drew Davison.

Charean Williams: 817-390-7760, @NFLCharean

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