Cowboys have penalty problem, with winning twist

Associated Press Modified: November 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm •  Published: November 13, 2012
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Maybe Claiborne was just having a bad day, perhaps his worst as a pro. He got beat for the game-opening touchdown by Riley Cooper, who had just two catches for the season before the leaping one-handed grab in the end zone. Claiborne also was called for defensive holding twice and interference once.

"It was a struggle, sort of like that third baseman when they bunt it to him early on, in the first inning, he picks it up and throws it 15 rows over the first baseman's head," Garrett said. "The bunts keep coming, right? So they kept going after him, and that's an experience a lot of rookie corners have to experience in this league."

The Cowboys, tied for second in the league with 74 penalties going into Sunday's home game against Cleveland (2-7), had 13 in three of the first five games, and most of the talk then was about an offensive line committing too many false starts and holding penalties.

Against Philadelphia, the focus of the problem shifted to the defensive line, but this was the same group that pressured Michael Vick early and sidelined him with a concussion. The Cowboys sacked rookie backup Nick Foles twice, including one that resulted in Hatcher's touchdown.

"You don't want to take the aggressiveness away from those guys," Garrett said. "The best defensive lines are the ones that get off the football, and we do a pretty good job of getting off the football. For the most part we've been pretty good in this area. We just have to correct it."

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lschuylerd

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