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September 22, 2013

Dallas ‘D’ turns attention to Bradford, Rams

ARLINGTON, Texas — Sean Lee figures just one turnover from the Dallas defense would have kept the Cowboys out of another .500 rut.

Instead, the Cowboys didn’t get any takeaways in a 17-16 loss to Kansas City a week after forcing six to beat the New York Giants in the opener. Even worse, the Cowboys let the Chiefs run out most of the clock to drop Dallas to 1-1 for the third straight year — and 129-129 since the start of 1997.

“That was depressing for us not to have a turnover and losing by one point and not being able to get off the field there,” said Lee, the middle linebacker in Dallas’ new four-man front. “That hit our pride pretty hard.”

Dallas looks to get a turnover count between zero and six when the St. Louis Rams visit Sunday with former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford off to the fastest start of his career.

If turnovers are what the Cowboys stress most on defense, sacks are a close second. DeMarcus Ware is one shy of a 30-year-old franchise record after getting to Alex Smith twice last week in Kansas City, and fellow end Anthony Spencer is rounding into game shape after missing the preseason following left knee surgery.

Ware, Spencer and others will be trying to end Bradford’s four-game streak without being sacked, dating to last season. It’s the longest sack-free stretch for the Rams since 1973, when John Hadl was sacked just 17 times for a division champion.

“I think my guys up front played really well these first two weeks in keeping me clean,” said Bradford, who has thrown for 651 yards and five touchdowns. “We’re very aware how talented Dallas is up front on defense. It falls on everyone and not just our offensive line, but our wide receivers have got to be able to create separation.”

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