The Cowboys defense forced five turnovers against the Giants, scoring on two of them. (Special teams added another.) If not for those, Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2 scheme likely would be getting ripped this week instead of praised.
The Cowboys rank 30th in total defense, allowing 478 yards. To put that in perspective, the Cowboys gave up the most yards in team history last season and allowed more yards than that in only one game. The Saints had 562 in a Dec. 23 game at AT&T Stadium.
They will not win many games giving up that many yards.
"That game’s over with," Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. "We’ve got to go play. We had the turnovers and all this and that, but we’ve got to play better on defense, too. We didn’t play as well as we should’ve. We won the game and we hung on, but we needed to play better. I think just being in the system and getting to learn what the other guy is doing and understanding the scheme and things like that. We’ve just got to keep getting better."
The Cowboys were missing two defensive starters in the defensive line with tackle Jay Ratliff (groin) sidelined for at least the first six games while on PUP and Dallas hoping to get end Anthony Spencer (knee) back for at least a few plays this week.
The Cowboys had 16 pressures and three sacks, one coming from linebacker Bruce Carter, as Eli Manning passed for 450 yards. They also allowed six plays of at least 20 yards as three Giants' receivers went over the 100-yard mark."We just have to do a better job of [not letting receivers get behind the secondary] and force teams to drive the football little bit better and certainly tackle when they catch it," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "There were too many yards after the catch as well."
-- Charean Williams