When you’ve allowed 27, 37, and 28 points in back-to-back-to-back losses, it’s fair to question your defense (and your whole team really).
The Cowboys are in such a place, losers of three straight, and it’s understandable if you feel that the defense deserves a lot of responsibility.
While the defense is certainly not pitching any shut outs, they are doing their job. Rod Marinelli’s “bend but don’t break” philosophy is one that does sort of work... at least in the first half.
Over the course of the last three games, the Dallas Cowboys defense has allowed a total of 20 points in the first half. That’s quite efficient when you really think about it.
This period of time includes a stretch against the Philadelphia Eagles, one of the better offenses in the league with an MVP-caliber quarterback, where they had four straight three and outs. You can’t ask for more than that.
Of course, the Cowboys defense allowing only six points in the first half on Thanksgiving against the Los Angeles Chargers was a bit of a mirage. They got very lucky with a missed field goal and that LA couldn’t completely capitalize on opportunities.
That being said, the defense is doing it’s job. 20 points over the first halves of three games. Unfortunately, they’ve allowed 72 over the second halves of those three games.
What about the Cowboys offense, though? That’s where this team’s bread and butter is supposed to be, isn’t it? The “bend but don’t break” philosophy is predicated on the offense continuing to churn?
Over the first halves of these three games, the Cowboys offense has scored 16 points.
Over the second halves of these three games, the Cowboys offense has scored 6 points.
So what this tells us is that in the first halves of the last three weeks the Cowboys are getting beat 20-16. That’s hardly anything to brag about, but hey it’s close.
Meanwhile in the second half, when adjustments galore are made, the Cowboys have been humiliated 72-6. And for what it’s worth, the Eagles returned a Cowboys fumble for a score, and the Chargers returned a Dak Prescott interception for one. Those aren’t at all on the defense.
The Cowboys defense is designed to hold and hold and hold while the offense gives them leads to work with. In the second half, when the opponent adjusts, they get exposed and obliterated.
I’m not saying that this is the perfect way to design your football team, but it’s what the Cowboys did and what they have to work with. If that’s not working you’ve got a problem, which explains where we are now.
It’s certainly fair to criticize the performance of the Cowboys in general, and specifically their defense if you want to. Just know that the defense is doing what they’re supposed to, carrying their weight, and the offense is exposing them.
This is the type of defense Cowboys fans have begged for. This is the defense that can hold on while the elite offense takes care of its job.
For whatever reason, it isn’t working.