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IRVING For the second time in three weeks, the Cowboys' defense let their opponent rack up record yardage.

Against the Saints, Dallas couldn't stop the pass, and they couldn't stop the run, either.

The transition to Monte Kiffin's defense hasn't created much success so far, and worries about players losing confidence in the system are beginning to show.

'Sure we've got to get them back, no doubt about it,' Kiffin said. 'That's a big part of coaching. That's a big part of keeping their confidence up.'

The Saints' 625 yards in total offense is the most ever allowed by a Cowboys team. Add that to the last two games against Detroit and Minnesota and the Cowboys have allowed 1,641 yards of total offense in three weeks.

As you might expect, the Dallas defense is dead last in the NFL.

'That's not good ball at all, I call it bad ball,' Kiffin said. 'That's bad ball right there. When they're like, 'Hey, where we are, we're going to run the ball,' you know, you're in an eight-man front. It's not easy. That's why football is a tough game.'

'We just did a poor job of recognition, we did a poor job of just getting off the field when we needed a stop,' Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said. 'We just had to stop the bleeding at a certain point of the game, and we never rose to the occasion.

'It's well documented that we have a lot of different guys playing for us. We understand that, but we didn't get the job done and they did,' Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said.

The Cowboys have reached their bye week. It's a chance for injuries to heal and a chance for coaches to reevaluate their strategy.

'It's very timely,' said Cowboys linebacker Barry Church. 'We've got a couple of injuries, and hopefully guys can work through it during this bye week. We're at a rough spot right now, but we've got to come back as defensive unit and as a team and improve.'

'We know we're still in a great position to compete in our division and hopefully make the playoffs, and have to find a way to get some wins and make a run after this bye week,' Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee said.

The Cowboys hope that run will start in New York the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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