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DeMarcus Lawrence calls Cowboys' defensive effort in 49-38 loss 'soft'

Though the Dallas Cowboys' offense is seemingly soaring along with plenty of points and lofty numbers, the defense is hardly following suit with its play. It's all added up to a 1-3 record and another disappointing start in Big D.

Thus, for all the superlatives one could throw at the Dak Prescott-driven offense, it's arduous to come up with anything complimentary to describe the defense. Demarcus Lawrence surely could not.

"In my own words, I'd call it soft. We've got to hold ourselves to a higher standard," Lawrence told reporters Sunday, via the Dallas Morning News' Michael Gehlken. "I call this [expletive] soft."

Dallas' 49-38 loss to the Browns on Sunday was the third game in a row in which it allowed 38 or more points. That's happened just once before and it was in a winless 1960 season, per NFL Research. It was also the third straight week in which the Cowboys allowed their opponent to score a season-high in points, with Cleveland's 49-point drop the worst showing for the Dallas defense yet.

While the Cowboys' defense has struggled in each of its last three games, Sunday was likely the worst thus far.

When the opposing team is able to run roughshod over you it's demoralizing. It brings into question physicality, toughness and character.

In Week 4, the Browns lost one of the game's elite running backs, Nick Chubb, to injury after just six carries. And still, Dallas allowed an eye-popping 307 yards rushing on 40 carries.

Dallas actually had more total yards than Cleveland, 566-508, but much of that is likely attributed to the Cowboys playing from behind.

"We need to play better complementary football," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said after the game. "We're a come-from-behind team as I stand in front of you."

The Cowboys lost for the second straight week and are a monumental comeback (and/or monumental Falcons flop) away from being 0-4.

When asked if Sunday's defensive performance had anything to do with lack of preparation, McCarthy put his finger on another issue.

"There's a difference between being prepared and how you perform," he said.

On Sunday, the Cowboys' defensive performance was "soft," from Lawrence's vantage point, and the road ahead just got a lot harder for Dallas.

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