Cowboys lacking takeaways lately

IRVING, Texas -- Believe it or not, the Dallas Cowboys defense once was able to do some good things this season.

In the first nine games of the season it had 22 takeaways. In the last four games, the Cowboys have forced just four takeaways (two interceptions, two fumbles).

It’s one thing to give up a ton of yards and take the ball away. It’s quite another when you don’t.

“Sometimes turnovers are like sacks,” defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. “They come in bunches. Hopefully they’ll work the other way the next week.”

The Washington Redskins had seven turnovers in last week’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Kirk Cousins had two interceptions and lost a fumble in his first start of the season.

“We just got to get back in our mentality to just stripping the football, guys running to the football, trying to get deflections, the D-line trying to get tips,” linebacker Bruce Carter said. “It’s just got to be on our mind. The ball has got to be our main issue, just taking it away, just trying to get more opportunities for our offense to score.”

The Cowboys have six defensive or special teams touchdowns this season. Dwayne Harris had an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Redskins in the first meeting and a 90-yard kickoff that set up another score in the 31-16 win.

Kiffin thought the Cowboys had their seventh miscellaneous touchdown of the season last week when Justin Durant forced a fumble at the goal line, but the play had been ruled dead.

The Cowboys are 4-1 this year when they score a defensive or special teams touchdown.

“A real important stat is miscellaneous touchdowns,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We talk about turnovers every week, but when you score miscellaneous touchdown … typically you win a lot of games. We have benefited from that all year long. We haven’t gotten them as much the last couple of weeks. Those are big plays. They change field position. They change momentum. They have a huge impact on the game. We've got to keep getting them.”