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Cowboys losses piling up, on and off the field

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IRVING, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys keep losing players as their team is turning in a M.A.S.H unit.

Their season might be on the critical list as well following Sunday’s 26-20 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

The Cowboys lost Orlando Scandrick for the season in training camp.

They lost wide receiver Dez Bryant for six to eight weeks in the season opener because of a broken bone in his foot.

They lost quarterback Tony Romo until Nov. 22 because of a fractured collarbone in Game 2.

Defensive Randy Gregory suffered a high ankle sprain in opener and missed the next three games, though he has a chance to return this week.

Now running Lance Dunbar is lost for the season because of a torn left ACL.

The Cowboys started the season 2-0, but are 2-2 after their second straight loss minus Romo at quarterback.

The Cowboys saw their 10-game road winning streak snapped in the loss to the Saints.

Backup quarterback Brandon Weeden lost for the 10th straight time as a starting quarterback dating to 2012, when he was a rookie bust in Cleveland.

Coach Jason Garrett, however, is not worried about the spirits of his team.

“That’s never really been an issue for us as a team,” Garrett said. “We have the right kind of guys on our team and our coaching staff. We put it all out there each week. Somehow some way we come back the next week regardless of what the result was and you get ready for the next challenge.

“That’s what we believe in around here. We watched the tape today as coaches and tomorrow we’ll watch it with our players. We’ll learn from it but we’ll put it behind us and get ready for the Patriots.”

Things don’t get easier for the Cowboys, who play the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Sunday.

The Cowboys know they can’t go 0-Fer with Romo out.

But the question is when will they win again?

The winless Saints were supposed to be a sure win.

They will be hard-pressed to win at the New York Giants on Oct. 25. The same for the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 1. The best hope is the Eagles at home on Nov. 8, if not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 15.

But remember, the Buccaneers beat the Saints in New Orleans for their only win.

REPORT CARD VS. SAINTS

PASSING OFFENSE: C. Quarterback Brandon Weeden had solid numbers, completing 16-of-26 passes for 246 yards and one touchdown. He led the Cowboys on a 91-yard game-tying touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. But he continues to be more check down than downfield. Teams don’t fear the vertical passing game and are loading up to stop the run.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F. The running game is a dumpster fire right now. Lance Dunbar is gone for the season. Running back Joseph Randle is on the verge of being benched. Darren McFadden did nothing to get excited about and the Cowboys made Christine Michael active for the first time all season and used him for only one play — a one-yard loss. The Cowboys for only 25 yards in the second half.

It’s fun to pick on running back DeMarco Murray and his horrible start with the Eagles after leaving the Cowboys for more money in the off season. But what’s also true is that the Cowboys are not tearing it up on the ground themselves. The Cowboys have only 189 yards rushing in the first games combined and leading rusher Randle has 116 yards and averaging only 3.4 yards per carry. Murray is running to nowhere with the Eagles. But the Cowboys are not better on the ground without him so far.

PASS DEFENSE: F. The Cowboys recorded a season-high three sacks but don’t confuse that with getting pressure on quarterback Drew Brees, who simply picked the defense apart. He completed 33-of-41 passes for 359 passes and two touchdowns, including the game winner. Cornerback Tyler Patmon dropped an interception. The Cowboys didn’t make plays when it counted. Brees threw mostly underneath and simply nickel-and-dimed the Cowboys all night until the 80-yard game winner to running back C.J. Spiller coming out of the backfield.

RUSH DEFENSE: C. The Saints gained 103 yards on 25 carries. They averaged 4.1 yards per carry. Mark Ingram had 17 carries for 77 yards. The Cowboys continue to get gashed on the ground and they continue to miss too many tackles. Somebody needs to make a play.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F. The Cowboys were flagged for 12 men on the field on a Saints punt after a three and out. The Saints sent the field goal team on the field and turned that mistake into three points. Inexcusable.

COACHING: D. The Cowboys had 12 men on the field on a punt, giving the Saints a chance at field goal. They didn’t get a timeout to get an injured playoff off the field before the game winning touchdown. The Cowboys abandoned the run in the red zone. Injuries are one thing, coaching blunders are another.


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