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December 15, 2013

Kiffin says after Cowboys defense 'felt so good at halftime,' Packers had them reeling in second half

Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said after the Cowboys defense had the Packers reeling in the first half, the Packers had the Cowboys defense reeling in the second half.

“Boy, we felt so good at halftime,” he said. “It’s 26-3 and their quarterback is kind of reeling a little bit, and we gave them some good looks and stuff like that. We just couldn’t hold on the second half. They had us reeling a little bit.”

Kiffin said the injuries to veteran linebackers Ernie Sims and Justin Durant took their toll as the Cowboys had to make do with rookies DeVonte Holloman and Cameron Lawrence and second-year player Kyle Wilber. Sean Lee and Bruce Carter were inactive because of injuries.

“We had some young guys in there trying to play linebacker – ‘Mike’ linebacker. Those guys did as good as they can do. They just haven’t had a lot of experience, you know?” he said. “It’s tough. Holloman hasn’t been playing a lot. Neither has Cam. You can’t fault those guys. So we just couldn’t hold on.”

Asked if this was the toughest loss he has endured in his career, Kiffin said, “Well, they’re all the same. What the heck? It’s not good. It’s not good at all. There are no excuses. We should have won the game. No doubt about it. We should have won the game.”

Asked if veterans DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, who between them registered only a tackle assist and a quarterback hit (both by Ware), did not step up, Kiffin said, “We need those guys, but I’d have to look at the tape and see if they didn’t step up. I wouldn’t go there at all, personally, until I see the tape.”

Kiffin said he is still convinced he has the players to do the job.

“Sure. Yeah. Oh, yeah,” he said. “The players, nobody’s going to give up the ship or something like that. I promise you that. I know our staff. I know our players. As tough as this was today, they won’t throw it in.”

Kiffin said at least the Cowboys no longer have to win three in a row.

“I just talked to one of the players in the locker room, one of our veterans, and said, ‘You know what? We’ve had a hard time winning three in a row, but we have won two in a row,’ ” he said. “That’s what we have to do.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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