FRISCO, Texas -- Cornerback Brandon Carr bristled at the suggestion that the Dallas defense had lost its mojo through four straight games without forcing a turnover, or 53 pass attempts by Washingtons Kirk Cousins without a sack.Are you trying to take it from us? Carr shot back. I wont let you get it. Its cool. We got it. Dont worry about it. Well be all right. Thanks for the concerns.The nine-season veteran has a pretty strong argument behind him, as does second-year safety Byron Jones when he summarily dismisses any negative numbers. The Cowboys have won 10 straight games , the most in franchise history in the same regular season.Dallas is a win away from topping the 10-game streak in 1971 that included the playoffs and the Cowboys first Super Bowl title. With a win over Minnesota on Thursday night, Dallas (10-1) will match the longest streak of any kind for the club -- an 11-game run that bridged the 1968-69 regular seasons.So, forget the late, easy touchdown drive for Ben Roethlisberger that put Pittsburgh back in front and forced Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott to answer for the second time in the final two minutes to keep the winning streak alive.And never mind on three straight second-half drives that ended in touchdown passes by Cousins, who threw for 449 yards on Thanksgiving.You can look at numbers and stats and all those things. But the objective of the game is to win the football game, Carr said. I feel like we made crucial stops at those moments in the game when we needed to step up the most.The Cowboys were improving weekly on defense and had reached the top 10 statistically going into the Pittsburgh game -- a week after dominating Cleveland and its quarterback-challenged offense 35-10. But theyve been sliding since then.The takeaway drought comes a year after Dallas was the worst in the league in that category, then started this season by forcing at least one turnover in six of the first seven games. And now the Cowboys are coming off their first game without a sack.Takeaways and sacks are treasures for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.Not good enough, Marinelli said of the pass rush. Weve got to keep working on it.Theres a common denominator in the four-game stretch without a takeaway: the absences of safety Barry Church (broken right arm) and cornerback Morris Claiborne (groin injury). Church is expected to return against the Vikings, and owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he believes Claiborne will be back before the end of the regular season.I feel like we were kind of beating ourselves on the big plays we let up, Church said. Its very hard to drive on our defense 80 yards, just dinking and dunking all the way down there. If we can minimize those big plays that weve been giving up lately, well have a lot better stat show.Jones shamelessly acknowledges that the Cowboys have invested more in their offense, and he likes to point out that drafting rookie NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick was in part a move for the defense by giving Dallas more power to control the clock.And the stats show the discrepancy. Tyrone Crawford is the sacks leader with just 3 1/2, and Church is the only player with more than one interception despite missing four games. He has two.I know what weve got, Jones said on his radio show Tuesday. However, the way I look at it, and I know this is a positive way to look at it, is theres room for improvement that weve got on defense. Can we do it? Can we start getting some turnovers? Id like to think that we can.Marinelli prefers to let teams drive without giving up big plays, figuring it will work in Dallas favor. The first half against Washington was a good example, when the Redskins drove all four times they had the ball but didnt get in the end zone and missed two field goals. Cousins had 216 yards passing at the half and six points to show for it.We did some good things the last few weeks on defense, coach Jason Garrett said. Having said that, too many explosive plays, too much yardage and cashing in on points late in the ballgame. Those are things weve done a better job of earlier on in the year, so weve got to make sure we get back to that.The Cowboys havent skipped a beat on the winning part, though.---For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL---Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler NGolo Kante Jersey . - Connor McDavid scored 53 seconds into overtime as the Erie Otters came from behind to defeat the visiting Guelph Storm 4-3 on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action. Dimitri Payet Jersey . Denis Coderre, the former federal MP who was elected mayor on Nov. 3, has drawn the ire of some Montreal Canadiens. During last nights game he tweeted: "Hello? Can we get a one-way ticket to (minor-league) Hamilton for David Desharnais please. http://www.nationalfrancesoccer.com/raphael-varane-france-jersey/ . Thats not a comment on the suspension that banished the Portland Winterhawks general manager and coach from his Western Hockey League teams bench for most of the 2012-13 season. Bacary Sagna France Jersey . -- On the field, it was business as usual for Jameis Winston and No. Blaise Matuidi France Jersey . A statement from the worlds top-ranked player says all checks "were satisfactory and showed positive evolution" regarding the injury, which contributed to his loss to Stanislas Wawrinka in the final in Melbourne. CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Virginia wide receiver Keeon Johnson wishes he would have worked harder after a fast start to his career at Virginia. Instead, he went from having a prominent role in the Cavaliers plans to being an afterthought.Now, in his final season, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder is trying to make up for lost time.After my first year, I kind of didnt grind as hard as I should have and I kind of got complacent and things like that, Johnson said. That can always come back and bite you in the end. Thats one thing I learned from it.A coaching change gave him new life, and a resolve to get back to working hard to be at his best. And it has paid off early in the season as Johnson has a team-high 17 catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns.In each of the previous two seasons, he managed just 13 catches per year.The Cavaliers (0-3) will look to get their first win on Saturday when they host Central Michigan (3-0). The Chippewas victories include a last-play win over then-No. 22 Oklahoma State.Johnson is eager to get back on the field and continue his career resurrection.It feels good. The biggest thing for me is just to have fun, Johnson said. Its my last year. Its going by way too fast so I just try to make every play, every rep count in practice. From winter workouts in the cold up to camp when its hot outside, you dont feel like doing anything, just try to have fun with it.Defensive end Andrew Brown spoke this week of players who he thought were in the shadows the last few seasons, all but forgotten by the coaching staff, even after making some contributions on the field. Seeing some of them like Johnson and pass-rushing specialist Mark Hall get back in the mix, Brown said, has beenn uplifting to everyone.ddddddddddddNow I feel like this coaching staff is exposing them, finally, Brown said.Johnson, particularly, seems to have become one of quarterback Kurt Benkerts go-to receivers. As Virginia tried to rally last week in a 13-10 loss at Connecticut, Benkert hit Johnson for 34 yards on a fourth-down pass.The rally came up short when the Cavaliers missed a rushed short field goal attempt on the final play. Despite the winless start, Johnson, like many of his teammates, insists the confidence and winning attitude that new coach Bronco Mendenhall is working to instill gains momentum each week.I think everybodys even more focused than they were, Johnson said. You can see it throughout each week. We get closer and closer and everybody, they get hungrier and hungrier throughout the week. We have practice tonight and tomorrow morning were back at it and everybody should be full speed, running around. Theres no negative energy at all. Everybody still has high spirits and up, so thats one positive about the whole situation.Another is Johnson getting a second chance.My first year I was getting the ball a lot, but it came to the point where we were running a lot more than we would throw, he said. Now, in practice, Were throwing the ball a ton of times. Its more reps with me catching the ball and with other receivers as well. Just being able to get those mental reps and all the reps in practice, come game time it becomes easy.---Online: The APs college football page: http://collegefootball.ap.org---Follow Hank on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr ' ' '