Rob Ryan making pieces fit on defense

ARLINGTON, Texas -- From an emotional standpoint the soul of the Dallas Cowboys -- the defense -- somehow continues to carry this team.

Jay Ratliff is sitting at home recovering from sports hernia surgery. Sean Lee is walking around with a boot on his foot. Bruce Carter is wearing an elbow brace. Orlando Scandrick has a small cast on his hand.

In their places are players such as Dan Connor, Brady Poppinga, Alex Albright, Michael Coe, Eric Frampton, Sterling Moore, Sean Lissemore, Rob Callaway and Brian Schaefering.

Rob Ryan, the defensive coordinator in charge of trying to make this work, did it again Sunday as the Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime 27-24.

"I thought Rob did an outstanding job," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He has done an outstanding job all year long. Injuries are a part of the game and 32 cities are dealing with injuries. That's just part of what we do. Rob has done a good job of putting the pieces together. A lot of new guys, guys who weren't on our team a few weeks ago, are now playing."

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