Our five-part series on what went right and what went wrong for the Cowboys continues with No. 3:
IRVING, Texas -- On the first day of camp, Jason Garrett stresses the importance of the football to his team and recites the turnover statistics going back since about the beginning of time.
The Cowboys weren’t very good in taking the ball away and they were too good in giving it away.
They finished the year with a minus-13 turnover ratio, tied for 27th. The only teams with worse marks were the New York Jets, Detroit, Philadelphia and Kansas City, and they finished a combined 16-48. That the Cowboys finished 8-8 is something of a miracle.
Tony Romo matched his 16-game high with 19 interceptions in 2012, with 13 coming in the first seven games of the season. The Cowboys lost 10 fumbles, led by Romo, who had three. Dez Bryant, Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray had two apiece. Murray’s two fumbles came in Weeks 15 and 16 and helped lead to the loss to New Orleans.
On defense, the Cowboys continued a maddening trend of not creating turnovers. Fired coordinator Rob Ryan went so far as to change the name to takeovers, as if calling them something different would help.
The Cowboys had 16 takeaways, the fewest in a season in franchise history. Even the 1-15 team in 1989 had more with 17. Only three teams had fewer than the Cowboys: Indianapolis (15), Philadelphia (13) and Kansas City (13).
Brandon Carr led the Cowboys with three interceptions. Sean Lee didn’t play in the final 10 games and was tied for second with one pick. First-round pick Morris Claiborne had one pick and did not flash the ball skills he showed at LSU.