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Nick Hayden

Cowboys' defense a study in contradictions with mix of shut-down games, shoddy outings

DeMarcus Ware intercepted the first pass of the season, one of six turnovers for a Dallas defense that also gave up 450 yards passing to Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the opener.The Cowboys have been a study in defensive contradictions ever since.They are the only team to keep Philadelphia out of the end zone this year, yet they've surrendered the first two 600-yard games for opponents in franchise history.Dallas shut down one of the NFL's best rushing attacks to beat Oakland, then let Chicago score on the first eight possessions of a 45-28 loss."I feel like as a defense, we're just up and down a lot, and it's been like that for the last couple of years," safety Barry Church said. "That's one thing that we've got to get right. We've got to get our consistency level right where it needs to be where week in and week out we're a dominating defense."Mostly the Cowboys (7-6) have just been embarrassing on defense this year.Three teams have gone an entire game without punting this s...

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