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September 12, 2013

The turnovers were nice and all, but the Cowboys rank 30th in total defense

The Cowboys had five takeaways on defense, scoring on two of them. (Special teams added another.) But lost in the turnovers was the fact that the Cowboys allowed 450 yards to the Giants.

Dallas ranks 30th in total defense behind only Green Bay and Baltimore.

To put the 450 yards in perspective, the Cowboys allowed the most yards in team history last season. Yet, in only one game did they give up more than 450 yards. The Saints had 562 against them last December in AT&T Stadium.

The Cowboys won't win many games giving up that many yards per game.

"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."

Dallas was missing two defensive line starters. Tackle Jay Ratliff (groin) is out at least six games while on PUP, and end Anthony Spencer (knee) returned to practice Wednesday and hopes to play at least a few plays Sunday against the Chiefs.

The Cowboys had three sacks, one by linebacker Bruce Carter, and 16 pressures as Eli Manning passed for 450 yards. They allowed six plays of over 20 yards, with three Giants receivers going over the 100-yard mark.

"We just have to do a better job of [keeping the receivers in front] and force teams to drive the football little bit better and certainly tackle when they catch it," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said, "and there were too many yards after the catch as well."

-- Charean Williams



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