IRVING, Texas -- With all due respect to Monte Kiffin's NFL track record, what has he done with the Dallas Cowboys to give head coach Jason Garrett confidence in the 73-year-old defensive coordinator?
Well, Garrett noted that Kiffin's defense has done a good job bouncing back from disastrous performances.
“I think at different times we've responded well to these kinds of games, and that's happened over the course of this season, where teams have had a lot of yards, they've scored a lot of points, and we've gotten back to work and made adjustments that we think would help our football team, and we've played better,” Garrett said. “So we've simply got to do that again. It's happened a couple times, like I said, and we just got to make sure down the stretch we do the same thing and it impacts our play.”
Actually, it's happened more than a couple of times.
The Bears were the fifth team to rack up at least 490 yards and score at least 30 points against the Cowboys. Those games account for five of the Cowboys' seven losses.
To put that in perspective, the other 31 defenses in the league have allowed only 16 such offensive explosions, and no other team has been victimized more than twice.
The Cowboys have had mixed results with their responses to being shredded.
Bad got worse the next week for the Dallas defense after the San Diego Chargers lit up the Cowboys for 506 yards and 30 points in Week 3. The Denver Broncos put up 517 yards and 51 points the next week.
The Cowboys did come back to win the next week after they allowed the most yards in franchise history. Both times.
A week after the Detroit Lions' 623-yard, 31-point performance, the Cowboys pulled off a comeback win over the Minnesota Vikings. With Christian Ponder at quarterback, the Vikings totaled 393 yards and 23 points against the Cowboys.
Dallas followed that up by getting embarrassed by the New Orleans Saints, who racked up 625 yards and 49 points while setting an NFL record with 40 first downs. The Cowboys came back with a much stronger performance after the bye, holding the New York Giants to 356 yards and 21 points.
Those bounce-back performances are the best thing the head coach can come up with to justify his stated confidence in Kiffin.
The Cowboys can't afford to be in position for any more bounce-back opportunities.