Red Zone & Late-Game Failures Mar A Solid Outing By Dallas Defense

ARLINGTON, Texas – Sean Lee didn't even wait for the reporter to finish the question before delivering the obvious answer.

"It's very frustrating," he said. "We've got to find a way, defensively, to not let them score in the red zone – I think they scored every time they were in the red zone. And at the end of the game, we didn't give our offense enough time – we need to get off the field sooner in that four-minute situation."

It was a solid outing for Lee on a personal level, as he paced all defenders with 10 tackles. He was a lone constant for a Dallas defense that surrendered 113 rushing yards on 24 carries.

As one might expect from Lee, though, that doesn't measure up well with the fact that the Cowboys dropped the opener by a razor-thin margin. On top of that, he was correct in his postgame assessment – the Giants were 100 percent on three opportunities inside the red zone, scoring on plays of 15 yards, nine yards and three yards.

[embeddedad0]"They're going to drive the ball. The key is, they can't score every time they get in the red zone," he said. "That was the difference, and defensively we have to find a way to keep them out."

That, along with the Giants' success in the ground game, marred an otherwise solid effort from the defense. The Cowboys sacked Eli Manning twice, and they limited New York's explosive passing game to 207 yards. They even managed a takeaway, as Brandon Carr nabbed an interception in the third quarter – something that happened just eight times in 2015.

But it clearly wasn't enough, as the Giants got what they needed during crunch time.

"There were certain things that we did well, but not enough – and really, not in the critical situations," Lee said.

It's an all-too-familiar season for a team that lost 75 percent of its games last fall. But, asked how the Cowboys could stop the result from snowballing, Lee said it's far too soon in the season to worry about that.

"It's too early," he said. "We're going to watch the tape and say 'Hey, we've got so much football left to play. That's a good team we played. We're going to find a way to get better and continue to get better.' You're not going to find anybody hanging their heads."

A look at some of our favorite photos from the 2016 season opener against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, September 11.

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