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Dallas Defense Primed For Another Challenge


FRISCO, Texas – Congratulations on a great game – now, do it again.

If it's a theme for football in general, it's definitely a theme for the NFL playoffs. You couldn't ask for a better example than this Dallas Cowboys defense, which now must follow Saturday's dominant performance against Seattle with a game against the best offense in the NFC.

"It doesn't matter how we handled it or whatever," Tyrone Crawford said on Monday. "The point is we've got to get going this week and we've got to get after it."

The Cowboys completely stifled the Seahawks for just 299 yards and 22 points in Saturday's wildcard win. They limited the league's best rushing offense to half of its average output, and they held Seattle to a woeful 2-of-13 performance on third down.

Their reward is a trip to Los Angeles to play the Rams, who sit at the top of the chart in most offensive categories. Spurred on by Todd Gurley, they're averaging 421 yards and 33 points per game – second in the league in both spots, trailing only Kansas City. 

They've scored 30 or more points in 12 of their 16 games this year – a stat that seems telling, given that the Cowboys have only allowed 30 points once this season.

"They've got skill guys, they've got guys that can make plays," Crawford said. "They've got a good offensive line, good quarterback, good running back. They run the ball well. We've just got to do what we do – go out there, try to stop the run and try to make the team one-dimensional."

If anyone in these playoffs is equipped to do that, it just might be the Cowboys. They finished the season ranked seventh overall in total defense, as well as No. 5 in rushing defense. They've slowed down dynamic ground games like Seattle and New Orleans in the past.

Asked if he thought the Cowboys owned the best defense remaining in the postseason, Crawford smiled.

"I think I said it earlier in the season: we're the best defense, period," he said.

It's a bold claim – but one the Cowboys have plenty of cause to make. With few exceptions over the course of this roller coaster season, their defense has been one of the lone constants about them.

And if the Cowboys are going to take down one of the top offenses in the league, it'll require another performance of that caliber. In a year where explosive offenses have taken top billing, it's a challenge Crawford and Co. are happy to rise to.

"You're talking to a defensive player, I definitely think you can win with defense," he said. "We're going to run and hit. That's what we're bred to do in this defense, so we've just got to go out there and do it."