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November 23, 2011

Rob Ryan says Washington game tells him red-zone defense 'not right yet'

The Cowboys gave up three red-zone touchdowns in three chances last week against Washington, and it left defensive coordinator Rob Ryan shaking his head.

The Cowboys allowed a 4-yard quarterback draw and a 16-yard pass to the back of the end zone for scores right before halftime and a 4-yard fade that tied the game with 22 seconds left.

“Everybody in the building knew it was quarterback draw,” defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. “Didn’t execute how we wanted to stop that play. That’s embarrassing.”

Of the touchdown by Jabar Gaffney moments before halftime, Ryan said it was inexcusable. “You know me. I’ll be the first one to wear the hat when anything is a little askew,” he said. “But there’s no excuse to give up a touchdown on five-deep coverage on two deep receivers. That was a little annoying. We have to do better than that.”

Last week was only the second time an opponent was perfect in red-zone touchdowns. (San Francisco was 2-for-2). And it was only the third time an opponent was better than 50 percent against in red-zone touchdowns. (Philadelphia was 4-for-6).

“The fade routes you can live with,” Ryan said. “Sometimes you’re going to get that. To me, that was two plays that just signified it’s not right yet. That’s the biggest thing. By now we should be a top-10 red zone defense like we always are. Right now, we’re not. Obviously, we need more focus there.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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