4th quarter issue crops up for Cowboys defense again

Arlington -- When the Giants took possession of the football midway through the fourth quarter down 6 to the Cowboys in their season opening tilt, the weight of the game was on the shoulders of the Cowboys defense, and they couldn't handle it.

"I didn't feel like they did anything special," said Tyrone Crawford.  "It just felt like we weren't on our game and that's on us as a {defensive} line."

The key play in the Giants go-ahead touchdown drive underscored some of the communication issues in the Cowboys secondary.  Eli Manning finds a wide open receiver deep in the middle of the Cowboys zone, like he had so many times already in the game.

Cowboys cornerback Mo Claiborne says he and his teammates have to do a better job getting on the same accord,  "It was all our doing," said Claiborne. "We'd come to the sideline and look at the plays and we felt like it's nothing they're doing to hurt us.  We're hurting ourselves."

The Cowboys surrendered a late lead Sunday, reminiscent of so many fourth quarter collapses a year ago.

"I think they had a nice drive," said Sean Lee.  "They're going to drive the ball the key is they can't score {a touchdown} every time they get in the red zone.  That was the difference defensively.  We have to find a way to keep them out."

Perhaps the most maddening issue the defense displayed happened when the Giants started a drive with 3 minutes and 27 seconds left in the game.  The Cowboys gave up runs of 7, 12, and 9, and 11 yards. 

The Giants melted the clock down to just more than a minute left. It just wasn't enough for the Cowboys to pull off the win.

"There was a couple guys that missed as far as what holes they were supposed to cover including myself," said safety Barry Church, "we were out there mis-fitting against the runs basically."

Those misfits proved lethal, and the Cowboys defense missed out on a prime opportunity, after rookie quarterback Dak Prescott gave them a fourth quarter lead.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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