Dallas Cowboys: 2013 Week 4 Upon Further Review NFC

Upon Further Review: Cowboys Week 4

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
2:00
PM ET
A review of four hot issues from the Dallas Cowboys' 30-21 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Don’t lament the running game: The easy thing to do after a game is look at the final stats and say something like, "The Cowboys should have run it more."

[+] EnlargeDeMarco Murray
AP Photo/Denis PoroyRunning back DeMarco Murray finished with 70 yards on 14 carries against San Diego.
DeMarco Murray had 70 yards on 14 carries, and, as a team, the Cowboys had 92 yards on 16 carries. However, the Cowboys did not have the ball enough in the second half to continue to make a dent with the running game. They were down two scores by the time they had their third possession of the second half, and running it made no sense.

The line rotation appears over: The right guard job now belongs to Brian Waters. After playing two series in each half of the Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and then alternating series with Mackenzy Bernadeau in the Week 3 win against the St. Louis Rams, Waters played the entire game Sunday against the Chargers. The Cowboys like Waters' strength and savvy, but left guard Ronald Leary will have to remain on his toes. As much as the Cowboys like him, they will not hesitate to make a move. So far this season, the Cowboys have benched Will Allen and Bruce Carter. They’re not afraid to make a decision.

Quick-strike defense: With Sean Lee's 52-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter, the Cowboys have three defensive scores in four games. They had three all of last season, and the last time they had four in a season came in 2010 after Jason Garrett took over as head coach.

Brandon Carr returned an interception of Eli Manning for a touchdown in the season-opening win against the New York Giants and Barry Church added a 27-yard fumble return for a score. Perhaps it could be an omen for this week’s game against the Denver Broncos. The last time the Cowboys saw Peyton Manning, Lee and Orlando Scandrick returned interceptions for touchdowns on Dec. 5, 2010, when Manning was with the Indianapolis Colts.

Need field-position work: Chris Jones has a big leg, but he needs to do a better job of pinning opponents deep in their territory. And when he has a punt land on the 15, as happened Sunday, the coverage team has to down the ball before it gets to the end zone. Lance Dunbar was unable to track a Jones punt in the fourth quarter, which went for a touchback and gave the Chargers the ball at the 20.

Six plays later, Antonio Gates had a 56-yard touchdown catch. Had Dunbar made the play, then the Chargers could have had to go a longer distance to score. Of course, with the way the defense played Sunday, it might not have mattered.

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