Apparently, all good things truly do come to an end. But in the case of the Dallas Cowboys and their defensive unit, was it ever really any good? Numbers can indeed be deceiving and following the team’s 34-31 home playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers, the skeptics will be circling Dallas like buzzards. Given what happened in one of the most thrilling postseason games you will ever see, Jason Garrett’s squad has some explaining to do – especially when it comes to the defensive side of the football.

Why drive when you can fly?

Overall, the Dallas Cowboys finished 14th in the NFL when it came to total yards allowed per game.

No team in the league allowed fewer yards on the ground in 2016. And that was quite the jump from the previous season when this same team was tied for 22nd in this vital category. This year, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s unit allowed only 83.5 yards per game rushing. And when you combine that with a Dallas’ running attack that totaled more carries than any other team in the league, it made life tough for teams to do what they really wanted to do offensively. But we also saw this same team abused through the air. Only six NFL clubs allowed more yards through the air. And while the Cowboys gave up a respectable 34 offensive touchdowns, 25 were via the pass.

What went wrong against Packers?

When you run into a hot quarterback like the Dallas Cowboys did in Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, you had better put him on the ground a lot or force him into numerous mistakes. But what kept Marinelli’s defense off stride the entire game was a Packers’ running attack that did just enough to keep the Cowboys’ defense honest.

Although Mike McCarthy’s club totaled only 17 rushing attempts, they picked up 87 yards. Converted wideout Ty Montgomery ran 11 times for 47 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That threat was enough to keep an already suspect Dallas defense honest.

In the first half alone, Green Bay rolled up 232 total yards (50 yards rushing) and 21 points.

Rodgers finished the game with 356 passing yards and a pair of scores. He was picked off once and sacked three times. And his heroics late in the game punctuated a frustrating outing for the Cowboys, who allowed a season-high 34 points in the loss. This was a Dallas team that came a long way this season. But until the defense can get some more help, all that young talent at quarterback and running back could go to waste.

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