Dallas Cowboys Defense Has Folded When Games Have Mattered Most

By Ben Grimaldi
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

It’s no secret the Dallas Cowboys defense was a major trouble spot in the past few seasons, no matter who was coaching them. The Cowboys organization and their fans needed someone to blame for the defenses short comings.

First the ax fell on Brian Stewart, then Wade Phillips, and now the Cowboys have Rob Ryan in charge of the defense and his fate is yet to be known.

The next excuse was that the players weren’t good enough. Everyone watched the past few seasons as the Cowboys secondary got light up and we watched their playoff hopes go down the drain as they allowed big play after big play.

Then the pass rush was to blame. The Cowboys don’t have enough pass rushers, after all DeMarcus Ware can’t do it alone!

With obvious needs for upgrades on the Cowboys defense, they went out and signed Brandon Carr and drafted Morris Claiborne to help the secondary. They also drafted Tyrone Crawford and Kyle Wilber to help out the pass rush. Couple those draft picks with the return of Ware, Anthony Spencer, Sean Lee, Jay Ratliff, Jason Hatcher and pass rushing specialist Victor Butler and the Cowboys would be able to play aggressive coverages with their new corners. Which would allow Ryan to be creative with his blitzes to get sacks hand over fist or cause more turnovers.

None of that has happened.

Not one part.

While the overall numbers look better this year than in seasons past, the Dallas defense is still struggling. Sure, they rank eighth in the NFL in total defense but they are tied for 19th place in sacks with 24 and they rank near the bottom of the league in forcing turnovers with just 12 this season.

Those numbers don’t look great but those stats aren’t the most disappointing part the defense this season. No, the worst part about this 2012 Dallas Cowboys defense is they can’t get stops at the most important times of a game. People always want to bash Tony Romo and the offense for not getting it done when they need to but the defense has folded in big spots all year long.

In Week 6 the Cowboys needed a stop against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter after cutting the lead to one point at 24-23 midway through the quarter. The defense allowed a touchdown drive.

Against the Atlanta Falcons the offense put together a quick scoring drive to get within three points with 5:21 to play but the defense failed on four separate third downs to get the offense back onto the field. The Falcons kicked a field goal and used up almost all of the remaining time on the clock.

Last week the Cowboys allowed the Washington Redskins to take a 10 point lead on an 11 play, 50-yard drive to basically seal the game in the fourth quarter as well.

Three games where the Cowboys defense had the opportunity to get the offense back onto the field with a chance to win or tie the game and they failed all three times.

So before we go and throw all the blame on Jason Garrett and anoint Rob Ryan the head coach, know that his defense is just as guilty of failing in big situations. This entire team has failed to execute all year long; the defense deserves the same amount of blame that the offense is getting.

The only question is, what excuse will be made now?

you can follow and talk with Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi

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