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Dallas Defense: Shutting Down Big Game Performances

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Few things are more exciting for a Cowboys fan than watching Tony Romo pass for more than 300 yards (and win), Miles Austin notch another 100+ yards receiving day and the occasional 100+ yards rushing game by one of the three Cowboys running backs.

Depending on the type of fantasy football league you're playing in, 100-yard rushers, 100-yard receivers and 300-yard passers can be highly rewarding if you have them on your roster.

300+ yards passing, 100+ yards rushing and 100+ yards receiving are statistical milestones that are correctly labeled as 'Big Games' for the players who achieve them. And for every big game performance by an offensive player, there is a defense that allowed those performances.

The Dallas defense has been remarkably stingy on big game performances last season. Read on to find out who the big game players were last season and which defenses enabled them or shut them down.

1. 300+ Passers

 
Player Team 300+ games
Peyton Manning Colts 9
Matt Schaub Texans 9
Tony Romo Cowboys 8
Drew Brees Saints 7
Tom Brady Patriots 7
Brett Favre Vikings 6
Philip Rivers Chargers 5
Aaron Rodgers Packers 5
Ben Roethlisberger Steelers 5

 

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There were a record 104 games with 300+ yards passers last season. The previous record was 76, set in the 2008 season. Quite a jump.

Tony Romo had his highest career season total with eight 300+ games, one more than in the 2007 season. Over the course of the last three seasons, Romo is ranked second in 300+ games with 21, just one behind Drew Brees and five ahead of third ranked Peyton Manning.

The combined W-L record of the nine QBs listed on the right in games in which they passed for 300+ yards is 48-13, or .787.

The Dallas defense has allowed only one 300+ yards passing game. Unsurprisingly, it was the week-two, four-turnover bonanza against the Giants.

2. 100+ Receivers

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Player Team 100+ games
Vincent Jackson Chargers 6
Andre Johnson Texans 6
Wes Welker Patriots 6
Miles Austin Cowboys 5
DeSean Jackson Eagles 5
Greg Jennings Packers 5
Randy Moss Patriots 5
Hines Ward Steelers 5
Reggie Wayne Colts 5

The last season saw 163 occasions where a receiver notched more than 100 yards receiving.

Miles Austin set a franchise record with his 250 receiving yards against Kansas City and his 1,320 receiving yards for the season rank 5th on the all time Cowboys list behind Michael Irvin (91-93 & 95) and Terrell Owens (07).

The combined W-L record of the nine receivers listed on the left in games in which their receiving yards exceeded 100 is 39-9, or .812.

The Dallas defense has allowed 100+ receiving yards by a receiver on four separate occasions. Again, it should not come as a big surprise that three out of the four were to Giants wide receivers: Steve Smith (twice) and Mario Manningham, as well as the Chargers' Vincent Jackson. A total of seven teams in the NFL have allowed a 100+ receiver only once last season.

3. 100+ Rushers

 
Player Team 100+ games
Chris Johnson Titans 12
Steven Jackson Rams 7
Thomas Jones Jets 7
Cedric Benson Bengals 6
Frank Gore 49ers 5
Jamaal Charles Chiefs 5
Jonathan Stewart Panthers 5
Maurice Jones-Drew Jaguars 5

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Running backs rushed for 100+ yards 116 times last season.

2009 was the season of  Titans running back Chris Johnson. He became the sixth man in NFL history to gain at least 2,000 yards rushing in a single season and finished 99 yards shy of the all-time single-season record of 2,105 yards, which was set in 1984 by the Los Angeles Rams' Eric Dickerson.

Johnson also set an NFL record with 2,509 yards from scrimmage, breaking Marshall Faulk's 1999 record.

The combined W-L record of the eight running backs listed on the right in games where they rushed for 100+ yards is 33-19, or .635.

The Dallas defense has allowed exactly zero, nada, zilch, 100+ yards rushing games by a single running back. Unmatched in the NFL in 2009.

Ranking NFL defenses against Big Game Performers

Big Games allowed, 2009 regular season

Click on the column heading to sort by column

Team 300 + passing allowed 100 + receiving allowed 100+ rushing allowed
Total Big Games allowed
NYJ 1 1 1 3
DAL 1 4 0 5
DEN 1 1 4 6
CAR 2 2 3 7
GB 1 4 2 7
PHI 4 4 1 9
BAL 1 5 3 9
WAS 1 5 3 9
MIN 2 6 3 9
HOU 3 3 4 10
ATL 5 4 1 10
NYG 3 5 2 10
SD 3 5 2 10
SEA 4 5 2 11
CIN 2 7 2 11
PIT 3 7 1 11
MIA 4 5 3 12
JAC 3 6 3 12
NE 5 4 4 13
TB 2 4 7 13
CHI 2 7 4 13
BUF 2 3 9 14
OAK 2 4 4 14
IND 1 6 6 15
NO 3 6 6 15
STL 4 6 6 15
ARI 3 5 5 16
SF 7 7 7 16
TEN 7 8 8 17
CLE 6 8 8 18
KC 6 9 9 21
DET 7 7 7 22
Total 104 163 116 383