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Defense Dissects Another Missed Opportunity


PHILADELPHIA – The message has been made clear in the aftermath of this loss.

The Cowboys are no longer in control of whether or not they make the playoffs, but they can still get there.

"Best of luck to the New York Giants," said DeMarcus Lawrence. "Hopefully they can get the job done. But the only thing we can do is worry about next week and winning that game."

Lawrence referenced New York for the obvious reason that the Giants now control the Cowboys' playoff hopes. Dallas must beat Washington to have a shot at the postseason, but they also need a Giants win over the Eagles team that just beat them, 17-9.

"We've got a slim chance, we've got to root for a team to beat a team we need them to beat," said Robert Quinn. "But all we can do is control what we can control at this point."

As for this week, it was another tough luck outing for an up-and-down Cowboys defense.

The scoreboard suggests they played a decent game. Philadelphia finished the night with just two touchdowns and 17 points, which is typically enough to win an NFL game – though Quinn didn't want to hear that.

"Well, they scored 17 and we scored nine," he said. "Defense shouldn't allow 17 points."

It's not as if the Cowboys managed to make plays, though. Carson Wentz guided the Eagles to 411 yards, and a big part of that was due to their success rate of 43% on third down. Jaylon Smith said it was a critical factor in the game, and Lawrence agreed with him.

"Inconsistency comes with me losing my gap or the quarterback rolling out of the pocket – all of these little things that play into a play call that can throw your defense off," Lawrence said.

It was also yet another game where the Cowboys couldn't generate a takeaway. So much of that 37-10 win against Philadelphia back in October was about taking the ball away, but it wasn't a trend the Cowboys could continue in the rematch.

"It's our duty to help our offense," said Smith. "We didn't create possessions for our offense, we didn't score points on defense. So we've got to take responsibility."

Quinn did manage a sack to hit double-digits for the year, but that's cold comfort when it was the only sack of the night. Not to mention that Wentz hit 77% of his passes while guiding his injury-plagued offense to victory.

"We really wanted this badly, so for us to let everyone down – it's a lot of pain," Smith said.

Now, for better or for worse, there's just one opportunity left. And however disappointed they might be about this one, Lawrence said they can't afford to let the next one pass them by.

"Don't fold. Everybody going to want to divide us. Don't fold," he said. "We're going out here to play this last game, and we gonna win this mother f*er."