Penalty problems prove more than Panthers could overcome

Four plays later, Brandon Aubrey’s field goal capped a 12-play, 69-yard, 5:09 drive with 11:01 left in the first half.

The second first-half drive, aided by Panthers’ mistakes, ended in a 5-yard Dak Prescott-to-CeeDee Lamb touchdown pass that gave the Cowboys a 17-3 lead with 24 seconds left in the first half.

With the Cowboys facing 3rd-and-10 from the Carolina 41, outside linebacker Amaré Barno was flagged for hitting Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott as he slid at the end of a three-yard scramble. The penalty gave Dallas a first down at the Panthers 23.

Three plays later, defensive end DeShawn Williams was penalized for unnecessary roughness when he shoved Dallas receiver KaVontae Turpin after Lamb had been tackled six yards short of a first down at the Carolina 19. And three plays after that, Prescott hit Lamb for the TD pass that capped an 11-play, 60-yard drive that lasted 1:32.

“The penalties, the self-infected wounds on us that’s on us,” Williams said. “It’s not nobody else, or out of frustration, it’s just you’ve just got to play smarter ball,” Williams said. “You take those penalties away from them, and who knows what happens. We’ve just got to play smarter ball on defense.”

The defensive penalties were uncharacteristic for this year’s team, as Carolina’s defense had been penalized 16 times in the first nine games before being flagged six times overall in Sunday’s loss.

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