ARLINGTON, Texas– Usually, everything you see in the preseason, has to be qualified with something like, "yeah, but it's only preseason."
But there are exceptions to every rule. Saturday's defensive performance by the Cowboys has to fall under that category.
The defense just dominated Houston from start to finish, ending the game with a rare shutout in the preseason, blanking the Texans 34-0 at AT&T Stadium.
When you think about the objectives that every defensive coordinator has heading into a game, the Cowboys were able to achieve them all.
- Keep the opponent from scoring? Check, the Cowboys producing their first home shutout in the preseason since 1977 – which happened to be a Super Bowl winning season.
- Limit the yards allowed? Check, check as the Cowboys gave up just 135 yards, including 50 passing yards by the Texans.
- Get off the field on third down? Super check – the Cowboys held Houston to just 1 of 14 on third-down conversions.
- Create turnovers – check, as the Cowboys got the ball away four times, including two forced fumbles by Taco Charlton.
- Get to the quarterback? How about eight checks, since the Cowboys sacked Houston eight times. Again, Charlton had two, as did Kerry Hyder.
All in all, the defense just dominated the Texans up and down the field. And before you say it was only the preseason, just remember that the Cowboys didn't have a full deck to start the game either. DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford have continued to sit out as they rehab injuries, along with Byron Jones.
The best part about the Cowboys' defensive effort was that it looked the same at the end as it did from the start.
"I think the story of the game though was our ability to get the ball away from them and the blocked punt and how well the defense played," head coach Jason Garrett said of the defense. "They really did a great job controlling the line of scrimmage and not letting them get anything started offensively throughout the game."