Penalties haunt Cowboys in loss

ARLINGTON, Texas – Penalties have not been a big problem this year for the Dallas Cowboys, as they had been in previous seasons, but they were an issue Sunday.

The Cowboys were penalized a season-high nine times for 81 yards in their 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos. In the first four games of the season, they didn't have more than six penalties or 72 penalty yards in a game.

Left tackle Tyron Smith had a false start in the second quarter at the Denver 3 that eventually forced the Cowboys to kick a field goal for a 17-7 lead. An unnecessary roughness penalty on linebacker Ernie Sims contributed to the Broncos’ first touchdown drive. George Selvie's face-mask penalty led to Peyton Manning’s second touchdown pass of the game. Sean Lee's pass interference penalty led to Manning’s 1-yard keeper in the second quarter.

“Penalties are certainly important in a game like this,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Really, in any game, but particularly in a game like this. You’re trying to limit their opportunities as much as [you] can. You don’t want to give them easy chances, and we knew our penalties, we’re helping them. They don’t need any help on offense. They’re pretty damn good.”