The worst defense in the history of the Dallas Cowboys?

The Dallas Cowboys defense was disappointing again on Thanksgiving.

The Dallas Cowboys joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1960. That season, under the direction of future Hall of Fame head coach Tom Landry, the club did not win a game, finished 0-11-1 and allowed a league-high 369 points — an average of 30.3 points per contest. It marked the only time in the history of the franchise that the Cowboys gave up the most points in the NFL.

But that’s a little historic note that may be getting ready to change. The club’s 41-16 home setback to the rival Washington Football Team (via Sean Naylor of Ironiq.com) not only dropped Dallas’ record to 3-8 (equaling last season’s loss total), the Cowboys have now surrendered an incredible 359 points in 11 games. That’s already 38 more points than a season ago when the club finished 8-8 after a 3-0 start.

Mike McCarthy’s club entered Week 12 as the league’s 24th-ranked defense in terms of fewest yards allowed and only the Houston Texans had allowed more yards per game rushing. Against Washington, Mike Nolan’s much-maligned unit surrendered 182 yards on the ground and three touchdown runs. The team is now allowing opponents to run for 156.4 yards per outing.

In 11 contests this season, Nolan’s group has allowed 40 offensive TDs (15 rushing, 25 passing). The Cowboys have only 10 takeaways and despite a strong showing from comeback story Aldon Smith (5 sacks), the pass rush has produced only 22 sacks. The most points allowed by the franchise in a season is 436 in 2010.

Dallas would threaten that mark three years later when they gave up 432 points. Of course, using four different starting quarterbacks and turning over the ball 23 times hasn’t helped McCarthy’s cause. And it’s worth noting that in the club’s three wins over the Falcons, Giants and Vikings the team gave up a combined 101 points.

Could the Dallas Cowboys actually challenge the NFL record for points allowed by a team in a season? That belongs to the then-Baltimore Colts, who surrendered an incredible 533 points in 1981.

In any case, this has been a woeful showing for a unit that lost a lot of talent in free agency and surely did not replace in adequately. The misery continues for a team that is now 8-16 in last 24 games since that 3-0 start a year ago. So just how bad can things still get for these Cowboys?