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The 4th Quarter Defensive Stand, Revisited

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The 4th Quarter Defensive Stand, Revisited

Perhaps the most telling image from Sunday’s 27-13 victory over the Texans in Houston was the fourth quarter defensive stand that saw Dallas hold the Texans at bay for five snaps--though only four were official--and settle for a field goal. We can only speak for ourselves, of course, but after this series, it seemed clear that Dallas would come away with their first win of the year.

Now, back to that series:

Carrying a drive into the fourth quarter on Sunday afternoon, the Texans looked poised to pull within a touchdown of your Cowboys. The team made it to the Dallas one-yard-line on a near-touchdown catch by tight end Owen Daniels, earning a fresh set of downs in the process. Arian Foster was stuffed on first down, bringing on second-and-ten.

Houston went with Foster again on second down, with slightly worse results, as he was bottled up for a loss of two. On third down and three, Houston went to Daniels in the the end zone. The pass was broken up by Keith Brooking--okay, actually, he was flagged for interference. But Houston was called for a hold and the penalties offset. On the second third-and-three, Foster was once more stuffed--but Texans’ head coach had called for a timeout just before the snap.

On the third and final third-and-three, Brooking came untouched on a blitz and leveled Matt Schaub for a loss of nine. After this, Houston was forced to settle for a field goal. Dallas got the ball back, and quickly scored to bring the lead to 24-6, all but out of reach for Houston.

That is: a first-and goal at the one-yard-line, five snaps--officially four--and negative 11 yards for an offense that came in ranked first in the league. And, we might add, one hell of a statement from a defense that considers itself one of the elite units in the league, but had yet to really show it this season.

"That was definitely a victory for us," said Brooking, per the Dallas Morning News. "When we get in that area, that's what we talk about: three or none."

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