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Defense Offers Plenty of Hope

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Defense Offers Plenty of Hope

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The one constant to this Cowboys season has been the way post-game conversation is dominated by discussion of the offense.

Whether it is Tony Romo blowing a game or Romo winning a game or Jason Garrett calling plays with all of the imagination of plain yogurt, the talk is always about the offense. Given the way the games have played out, that makes sense but it is overlooking the one thing to really, really like about these Cowboys.

Rob Ryan's defense is damn good and it provides plenty of reason to believe this Cowboys season can still end on a positive note. Yes, they let the Pats drive 80 yards down the field for the winning score on Sunday and that wasn't anything that makes you proud of a defense, but let's get a little perspective.

The 80 yards that the Patriots gained on that drive left them with 371 yards for the game. That's more than 100 yards less than they have gained on average this season and it was the first time the Pats have scored under 30 points in a regular season game since the Browns held them below the magic number last season. That defense, as you're probably aware, was also coached by Ryan so his ability to shut down the NFL's most potent offense twice is a major notch on the bedpost.

Everything they did Sunday, until that last drive, was perfect. They pressured Tom Brady into three sacks and two interceptions and forced another turnover by stripping Aaron Hernandez. The offense turned those gifts into six points and it is hard to ask any defense to do enough to win a game when you let that many chances to choke out the Patriots pass by the wayside.

That's basically the game in a nutshell. The Cowboys defense held the Patriots to 20 points and forced three turnovers in Foxborough. Absent any context, that scenario would have had you predicting a win in the hours before the game. That the win didn't come certainly isn't on Ryan's side of the ball.

And that's been the story of all five games as well. The Cowboys have had a shot to win every single week because their defense has been lights out. With a schedule that is about to get much easier and a division that looks like it will aspire to being mediocre, having that kind of weapon at your disposal means that it is far too early to write the Cowboys.

You're now free to go back to cursing the offense.

Related Topics Defense, Rob Ryan, Cowboys
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