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Eatman: Defense Forcing Dak, Offense To Be Perfect


ARLINGTON, Texas – For the first time in NFL history, a quarterback passed for over 450 yards in three straight games.

On Sunday, Dak Prescott set another personal-best with 506 passing yards on 58 attempts, another career-high.

And guess what? He wasn't perfect. He actually threw a pick and fumbled once.

The Cowboys offense scored 38 points, and it certainly wasn't perfect, turning the ball over twice and another time on downs.

And that's the sad part of this whole season right now – the Cowboys offense has to be damn-near perfect to win games.

And we should know this by now – no side of the ball is going to be perfect. But after the game, chatting with my colleagues Rob Phillips and David Helman, we all basically agreed on this one thing being the difference.

They're not perfect, but they basically have to be in order to win. The Cowboys can't turn it over. They have to score pretty much on every possession.

That's where we are right now. The Cowboys' defense has now allowed 39, 38 and 49 points in the last three games and hasn't proven to give this team much of a spark in any area.

This defense again didn't generate any turnovers, no meaningful sacks in crucial situations and it just can't get off the field in clutch moments. Worse than that, they're getting bombed by big plays down the field.

And even worse … they couldn't stop the run, yielding 307 yards, the most by any Cowboys opponent in franchise history.

Sure, there are injuries on this defense at key spots. Losing both Anthony Brown and Chido Awuzie at cornerback has put this team in a bad situation. And then to lose both Sean Lee and Leighton Vander Esch has made it challenging on the linebacker position.

But good teams find a way to overcome injuries. And yes, those are pretty good players, but not exactly game-changing, catalytic guys who were carrying the team.

What we thought was going to happen was a rotation of DeMarcus Lawrence, Aldon Smith and Everson Griffen would provide a steady, consistent pass rush that could make up for some other deficiencies, particularly in the secondary.

Sure, Smith had four sacks coming into the game, including three last week. And his story is an amazing one of resilience. But he can't do it by himself. So far, we really haven't seen much in the pass rush from Griffen or D-Law, who has been battling through injuries but seemed to have his most active game so far.

But when an opposing quarterback passes for 165 yards and just two touchdowns and the offense still gets nearly a half-hundred points, that's a problem.

And go figure this: The Cowboys didn't even have to face a full game of Nick Chubb, who left with a knee injury. But did you even notice? The Browns still had three guys with over 70 yards rushing, including wide receiver Odell Beckham, who put the nail in the coffin with his backbreaking (and ankle-breaking, too) run that weaved through the defense for the exclamation point of this day.

Quick, before you start to actually find the real problem areas on defense, flip it around the other way. It's much easier if you attempt to find the things this defense is doing well.

To me, that's really a more telling story of this defense because … there really isn't anything.

The Cowboys have just eight sacks in two games. They have only one interception. Only one forced fumble – on a play that was a gift and should've been another long touchdown.

And like we've mentioned, the defense isn't stopping the run or the pass.

It took a miracle onside kick against Atlanta to prevent the Cowboys from being 0-4. And sure, you can argue that they could've won against the Rams, and was just a fourth-down stop from winning at Seattle. And who knows, maybe if they kick the ball deep in the final four minutes against Cleveland, they could get the ball back and go tie the game with a field goal.

Yeah, they're in every football game so far, but it's because the offense is just so explosive. The offense can score points at an alarming rate.

It's just too bad they wait so long to get it going. Again, that's another example of not being perfect.

And right now, this offense really has no other choice.


The Cowboys are back at AT&T Stadium next Sunday, October 11th to take on their rivals, the New York Giants. A limited number of tickets are on sale now. Get yours now before they sell out!

Details on all of the health and safety procedures you can expect at AT&T Stadium this season can be viewed at

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