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Friday, November 30, 2012
To defer or not to defer?

By Calvin Watkins

IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys coach Jason Garrett likes to defer when he wins the coin toss.

The Cowboys have a 3-2 record this season when they win the toss and defer to the second half. But it comes with a cost. The Cowboys have scored just 30 points in the first quarter and have been outscored by 61 in the first half, tied for the third-largest margin in the NFL.

Dallas has also scored a league-low 43 points in the second quarter.

You have to wonder if it's worth deferring to the second half when the offense has struggled to score. In second halves, the Cowboys outscore their opponents by 38 points, seventh best in the NFL, but you have to take into account the number of comebacks the Cowboys have had this season.

The one instance in which the Cowboys won the coin toss and elected to keep the ball came in the Week 2 loss at Seattle.

As the Cowboys move forward, keeping the ball might be in their best interest given how their offense has struggled this season.

The Cowboys average just 22 points per game, 18th in the NFL, and have scored 242 points through 11 games. After 11 games last season, the Cowboys scored 270 points, which included games where they scored 30 or more points three times and 21 or more points seven times.

It might be time for Garrett to change how he conducts his business at the coin toss. Instead of deferring to the second half to get the ball, he should try getting it in the first half and establish something.