Stop Running To Conclusions

off the bat. Maybe that was the Jon Kitna effect, everyone trying so hard to make him eat his words they began over-pursuing the run and choking on theirs.

Then came T.J. Duckett's 32-yard touchdown run, the result of most everyone rushing to make a play and no one there for the backside cut.

"So when we huddled up on the sideline after the play, we were like, 'Come on, make a play, make a play,'" said Ware, here at The Ranch on his off-day doing a Campbell's Chunky Soup promotional appearance.

That then created an overzealous defense. Ware said everyone started trying to make the play themselves, leaving them highly susceptible to the backside cut Kevin Jones and Duckett began making a living with that first half.

The result: Two touchdown runs, along with the 107 rushing yards - in the first half.

This style of the 3-4 defense is predicated on each of the front seven guys and most times the strong safety each "fitting" into a particular gap. But problems arise if the front seven guys or the safety start freelancing. There is going to be a gap - a wide open gap.

The Cowboys were gap-friendly that first half in Detroit.

"Our fits were better the second half," Ware said.

So was the run defense. In fact, so was the entire defense.

The Lions only scored seven second-half points, although Jason Hanson did miss that 35-yard field goal. The Lions only gained 133 second-half yards - total - far less than the 257 first-half yards. And again, they only rushed for 45 yards on 14 carries, a humble 3.2 yards a carry - most of the damage coming on a Jones 18-yard run.

Other than that, nada.

And really, other than the Detroit first half and the Minnesota game, the Cowboys had done a pretty decent overall job of stopping the run. Hey, they are the fourth-ranked rushing defense. Only Detroit, Minnesota and Buffalo were able to produce more than two runs of 10 or more yards against the Cowboys. Minnesota, thanks to Adrian Peterson, had six runs of at least 10 yards. Detroit had five.

But overall, the Cowboys have given up only 31 runs of at least 10 yards, and just four of at least 20 yards. By comparison, the Cowboys own 39 runs of at least 10 yards and 12 of at least 20 yards. Not bad, really, just as long as they plug this leakage this Sunday against Philadelphia.

So Wade, no concerns going forward with your run defense? You know, 124 yards rushing by the Packers, then 152 the next by the Lions? A 62-yard touchdown run one week, a 32-yarder the next?

"No . . . no, when you look at tape, they'll see it on tape," Phillips said. "We had guys free . . . I think our guys will see it, and we adjusted as the game went on."

They saw it all right, and from the sound of things, made 'em sick, too.

But then again, 12-1 is one sweet antacid.

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